Review: “The Last Act” by Brad Parks

Brad Parks is a former newspaper writer turned author. His first books were about an investigative reporter named Carter Ross working in Newark, NJ. Those were fun books and included Faces of the GoneEyes of the Innocent, and The Fraud. Carter was a likeable character and I enjoyed the newspaper setting and supporting cast of the series.

Park has moved on from the Carter Ross character, at least for now, and his last three books are standalone thrillers. His latest one, The Last Act, is about a former Broadway actor named Tommy Jump. Tommy is recruited by the FBI to go undercover in a federal prison to learn the location of some documents. These documents could bring down a Mexican drug cartel. To do this Tommy will have to befriend a prisoner, the banker, who hid the documents.

Tommy will be paid $150,000 for his efforts after six months even if he doesn’t learn the location of the documents. It is the best paying acting job he’s ever had, but the stakes are high. While a minimum-security prison might be a less dangerous place than a maximum-security prison, it is still a prison. This is not just a typical acting role, and if he messes up, he’ll earn more than a bad review.

I liked this novel. I thought it had a well thought-out premise. I am glad the novel did not just open with Tommy already in prison and then explaining how he got there. I thought the process of getting Tommy ready to go to prison was interesting, and I liked the fact that Tommy had doubts during the process.

If you have not read any books by Brad Parks, I think this is a good first choice. The McAllen Public Library and the Lark Branch Library have hardcover copies of The Last Act available.

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