T Jefferson Parker biography

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T Jefferson Parker
Photo: Marion Ettlinger

T Jefferson Parker

T Jefferson Parker Biography

T. Jefferson Parker was born in Los Angeles and has lived all his life in Southern California. He was educated in public schools in Orange County, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, in 1976. His writing career began in 1978, with a job as a cub reporter on the weekly newspaper, The Newport Ensign. After covering police, city hall and cultural stories for the Ensign, Parker moved on to the Daily Pilot newspaper, where he won three Orange County Press Club awards for his articles. All the while he was tucking away stories and information that he would use in his first book.

Parker's first novel, Laguna Heat, was written on evenings and weekends while he worked as a reporter, and was published to rave reviews and made into an HBO movie starring Harry Hamlin, Jason Robards and Rip Torn.

Parker's following novels -- all dealing with crime, life and death in sunny Southern California -- were published to rave reviews and appeared on many bestseller lists. His writing has been called "potent and irresistible" (Los Angeles Times), and "resonant, literate and powerful" (Kirkus). The New York Times wrote that "T. Jefferson Parker is a powerhouse writer." Writing in the Washington Post, critic Carolyn See called The Triggerman's Dance "a masterpiece."

Parker's Silent Joe won the Edgar Award for best mystery in 2001, as well as the coveted Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mysteries. Three years later, California Girl won the Edgar for best mystery once again. In 2008, "Skinhead Central" won Parker his third Edgar, this time for best short story.

Parker's last six crime novels -- L.A. Outlaws, The Renegades, Iron River, The Border Lords, The Jaguar and The Fabulous and the Dead all feature Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Charlie Hood, and deal with dangers along the U.S./Mexico border. Lionsgate has bought the rights to bring Charlie Hood to the big screen.

In 2014, moved by the young Marines returning from Afghanistan through Camp Pendleton, Parker wrote Full Measure. This story, about a young man returning from bloody combat and trying to find his place in a changed America, was called "Compelling" by T.C. Boyle and "A Great American Book" by Luis Alberto Urrea.

Crazy Blood, a novel set in the high-stakes world of Olympic ski racing, followed in 2016.

Parker launched his news series, based on private investigator Roland Ford, in 2017 with The Room of White Fire. The series is set in north San Diego County, not far from Parker's adopted hometown of Fallbrook.

The next Roland Ford novel, Swift Vengeance, was released on August 21, 2018.

When not working, Parker spends his time with his family, hiking, fishing, beachcombing, exercising his dogs. He cannot pass by a body of water without wanting to fish it. He also enjoys rock hounding, cycling and being outdoors.

His novels 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) 1st in the Merci Rayborn series
  • Red Light (2000) 2nd Merci Rayborn novel
  • Silent Joe (2001)
  • Black Water (2002) 3rd Merci Rayborn novel
  • Cold Pursuit (2003)
  • California Girl (2004)
  • The Fallen (2006)
  • Storm Runners (2007)
  • L.A. Outlaws (2008) 1st Charlie Hood novel
  • The Renegades (2009) 2nd Charlie Hood novel
  • Iron River (2010) 3rd Charlie Hood novel
  • The Border Lords (2011) 4th Charlie Hood novel
  • The Jaguar (2012) 5th Charlie Hood novel
  • The Fabulous and the Dead (2013) 6th Charlie Hood novel
  • Full Measure (2014)
  • Crazy Blood (2016)
  • The Room of White Fire (2017)
  • Swift Vengeance
  • (2018)

T Jefferson Parker's website

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Interview

T Jefferson Parker answers questions about his books and himself, and reveals what the "T" stands for.

When did you first decide to become a writer?
My "Mythology and Folklore" teacher in high school hated our class because we were troublemakers. One day she refused to teach us, and made us each close our eyes and pick a book out of a box she'd brought from home. We were to read silently all period. I got Catch 22 by Joseph Heller and I read it in a few days. I couldn't believe how funny it was, how hip and right-on. I told myself that if I could ever write something that would give someone 1/1000th the pleasure that Heller gave me, I'd be proud.

Where do your plot ideas come from? What inspires you?
The plots usually take shape in the writing or outlining stage. You create them, like a carpenter laying the foundation of a house. It's a gut feel, whether the story is good and the plot is right. I'm inspired by everything—the front page of the LA Times, a weird dream from the night before, an interesting story told by a friend, or even sitting at church. Snippets of conversation I overhear, things I see and experience, life itself—the mind drifts, hatching disastrous plots. But I'm inspired most of all by novels. There's something about a good, I mean a very good, novel, ...

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Books by this Author

Books by T Jefferson Parker at BookBrowse
The Last Good Guy jacket Crazy Blood jacket Full Measure jacket The Famous and the Dead jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for T Jefferson Parker but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

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    If you enjoyed:
    The Fallen

    Try:
    Origin
    by Diana Abu-Jaber

  • Giles Blunt

    Giles Blunt

    Giles Blunt was born in 1952 in Windsor, Ontario, and grew up in North Bay, Ontario.  He describes his parents as being "so English that the space on their passports for citizenship could only be filled in 'British... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    California Girl

    Try:
    By the Time You Read This
    by Giles Blunt

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