"The Last Good Guy" by T. Jefferson Parker; G.P. Putnam's Sons (352 pages, $27)
White supremacists seem destined to be the new ISIS in thrillers – i.e., widely despised villains – and they make a good case in this third novel about private investigator Roland Ford. T. Jefferson Parker's dozens of L.A.-set crime novels exist in the shadow of Michael Connelly's better-known books, but the Ford series achieves separation because, unlike Connelly's work, the police are barely involved.
Ford's latest case starts with a mystery woman who asks him to find her runaway daughter. The tough guy suspects the woman is lying about most of the details of her story, which turns out to be true, and Parker unravels the lies at a briskly entertaining pace. It's too bad an editor didn't steer Ford away from a few weird generalizations ("He had the Hispanic flair for understatement," Ford says of a colleague. Huh?) but when the plot kicks in, involving a cult, a kidnapping and those white supremacists, Parker doesn't waste a single word.