“The Room of White Fire” by T. Jefferson Parker introduces a new protagonist, private investigator Roland Ford. In some ways it is a departure from his usual writings in that this is more a conspiracy story than a crime mystery. At the heart of the plot are the secrets and lies.
Roland is a former Marine, who fought in Fallujah, and a former sherriff’s deputy. He is tall, strong, and a Patriot. Having made a reputation on being able to find people, he is hired to locate Air Force veteran Clay Hickman. The mental hospital where Hickman was staying wants Roland to find him and bring him back, because he is diagnosed with PTSD and schizophrenia.
In the course of trying to track Hickman down Roland finds that he was being treated with electroshock and LSD therapy. He wonders why the patient’s physician, the institution’s Director, and the very wealthy psychologist who founded and still owns the institution insist that Hickman be returned to their care and not to the custody of his parents.
To make matters worse, Roland also discovers that he is being drawn into something the government does not want to be made public; something called “White Fire.” Roland now sees it as his job to find out what is “White Fire” and what are the connections to those in the highest levels of government.
Parker has his hero a retired military figure “I feel we owe all those who served a lot. America can be a better place for our fighting men and women. The characters in the book are a nod of respect for anyone who had a military background. I hope readers like Roland and the story. He is very capable, principled, and clever.”
Although this story was conspiratorial in nature, the next novel is more of a traditional mystery where Roland must protect an old friend from a death threat made against her. In the course of the investigation he uncovers a terrorist plot against the city of San Diego.
Since the Charlie Hood novels has ended, readers might want to get to know this new character Roland Ford who will be featured in a new series. This first book has cover-ups and greed at its core.