Summary and book reviews of California Girl by T Jefferson Parker

California Girl

A Novel

By T Jefferson Parker

California Girl
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Sep 2004,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2006,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

A different world then,
a different world now ...

California in the 1960s, and the winds of change are raging. Orange groves uprooted for tract houses, people flooding into Orange County, strange new ideas in the air about war, music, sex, and drugs, and new influences, ranging from Richard Nixon to Timothy Leary.

For the Becker brothers, however, the past is always present -- and it comes crashing back full force when the body of the lovely and mysterious Janelle Vonn is discovered in an abandoned orange-packing plant. The Beckers and the Vonns have a history, beginning years ago in high school with a rumble between the brothers of each clan.

But boys grow up. Now one Becker brother is a cop on his first homicide case. One's a minister yearning to perform just one miracle. One is a reporter drunk with ambition. And all three are about to collide with the changing world of 1968 as each brother, in his own unique way, tries to find Janelle's killer.

As suspects multiply and secrets are exposed, the three Becker brothers are drawn further into the case, deeper into the past, and closer to danger.

In this excerpt from California Girl, Nick Becker is a young homicide detective in Southern California working his first murder case.
The victim is beautiful, young Janelle Vonn, who grew up poor not far from the Beckers. Nick knew Janelle as a troubled young girl, a victim of incest at the hands of her criminal brothers, a dethroned beauty queen trying to find her way through the turbulent year of 1968. When her decapitated body is found in an old orange packing house in Tustin, Nick begins an investigation, and a journey, that will change his life and the life of those around him.  This excerpt starts half way through Chapter 11, at page 87 (approximately).





Nick found Lenny Vonn that afternoon. Same house out in Modjeska Canyon. Brother Casey and father Karl were there too, the three of them sitting in the garage drinking beers while Lenny cleaned out the carb on his yellow and orange Panhead. Casey had a Hessians vest on. His hair was almost to his shoulders and ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

California Girl is not only a gripping mystery but an emotionally absorbing family saga. If you haven't already discovered this Edgar Award-winning novelist I encourage you to do so.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (328 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Readers should think mainstream novel rather than thriller and prepare to wait patiently for the rewards offered by this intricately plotted tale.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Love, lust, murder, betrayal, suffering, and redemption all parade by as a brilliant tale-spinner (Cold Pursuit, 2003 etc.) once again has his way with us.

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Beyond the Book

This is Parker's 12th book. In publication order they are: Laguna Heat (1985), Little Saigon (1988), Pacific Beat (1991), Summer Of Fear (1993), The Triggerman's Dance (1996), Where Serpents Lie (1998), The Blue Hour (1999), Red Light (2000), Silent Joe (2001), Black Water (2002), Cold Pursuit (2003), California Girl (2004 hardcover).
The Fallen will be published in hardcover this March.

Incidentally, the 'T' in Parker's name is just that, a T - it's not short for anything. It seems that his mother thought it would look good on the door of the President! Consider yourself lucky he chose to be a novelist instead; we're richer for it. To his friends, he's simply Jeff.

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