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By The Staff

Pat Wellington


By Brad Parks

Tommy Jump’s acting career is probably behind him even though he’s only 27.  Too short to play romantic leads, he’s starting to go bald so he can no longer play children or teenagers. His fiancée is pregnant and he can’t tell her how bleak their future is –at least not now.

Then an old friend, Danny Ruiz, who is an FBI agent, offers him a gig he can’t refuse: go undercover in a federal prison as a convicted felon and make friends with a fellow inmate, Mitch Dupree. Dupree was a former banker who laundered money for a notorious drug cartel and who knows where documents are hidden that could crack the FBI’s case wide open. The gig is just for six months and pays at least $150,000 even if Jump is unsuccessful at locating the documents. The FBI even promises to pull him out of prison if the job grows too dangerous.  So what could go wrong?

After working with the FBI to develop a back story, Tommy enters a minimum security prison and begins the delicate task to win the trust of the intended mark.

Actor Tommy Jump is an unusual character to head a thriller but the author imbues him with honesty and an appealing personality.

The novel delivers a tightly focused plot as Tommy learns to navigate the prison system. And the many plot reversals will have readers frantically turning pages. Here’s a thriller laced with wry humor and compelling characters sure to please.

Although “The Last Act” is clearly a work of fiction, Parks explains in an author’s note that the story is loosely informed by the real-life case involving Wachovia Bank’s interactions with Mexican currency exchange houses between 2004 and 2007.

Brad Parks is the only writer to have won three prestigious prizes for crime fiction-the Shamus, Nero, and lefty Awards.