Excerpt from California Girl by T Jefferson Parker, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

California Girl

A Novel

by T Jefferson Parker

California Girl
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2006, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Janelle liked being Miss Tustin. Thought it was kind of funny, but harmless. Enjoyed people. Enjoyed the attention. No pills or booze. Made a run down to Baja with three truckloads of clothes from the church, gave them to people poorer than she ever was. Got her picture taken a lot. Tustin people thought she looked like the old SunBlesst crate label girl so they did up a poster of her with oranges, an old-fashioned kind of picture that made her look really pretty and made it seem like Tustin still had orange groves.

But all that only lasted two or three months. Then she got on the cover of Playboy. Wore almost as much clothing as she did for the SunBlesst girl poster but Tustin city council demanded a new queen. She split Tustin for Laguna and started UCI same month. Didn't talk to any of them after that. Didn't want to see a Tustin face or hear a Tustin name. Felt like that part of her was dead. Said she wouldn't go back to that town if you gave her a million dollars.

But she did, thought Nick. One last time.

It was mostly Karl and Lenny who talked. Casey just sat there on the cooler with his back to Nick. Getting more and more tense the more he heard, Nick could see. Shoulders moving in. Head hunching down a little. Hands in front of him. Moving now. Nick eased his hand under his coat and popped the holster snap. Casey caught the sound. Big dirty head turning Nick's way.

"Just to keep things fun and fast, I'm going to need alibis from you, Lenny, and you, Casey. What were you two princes doing two nights ago. Tuesday."

"We got drunk and watched TV," said Lenny. "Right here. Right bro?"

"Right."

"What shows?" asked Nick.

"Fuckin' Mod Squad," said Lenny.

"It Takes a Thief" said Casey.

"Fuckin' Twilight Zone," said Lenny.

"Then Alfred Hitchcock and we fell asleep," said Casey. He didn't turn but his hands were still moving in front of him. Like they were doing something small.

"Now get off my property," said Lenny. "You got what you need."

Casey turned. Blank stares from all three of them now, like three empty glasses on a shelf.

"You should probably go, Nick," said Karl. "They were here. I was too. The kitchen faucet was dripping bad and I'm a fair plumber. The Twilight Zone was the one where the world ends and the guy's in the library with all those books and he breaks his glasses."

"That's a good one," said Nick.

"Yes, it is," said Karl Vonn.

Nick heard something click and saw Casey's shoulders move.

He took two steps forward, held one foot over the Hessians emblem on the back of Casey's vest. Pushed hard. The cooler tipped up and Casey went over and rolled onto his back. He lay there for a moment, looking up the barrel of Nick's gun. Sunglasses still on. Roller in one hand with the paper already in it, a bag of tobacco in the other. Yellow-brown flakes and strings spilled onto his stomach.

He aimed the roller at Nick, pulled a trigger.

"Someday," he said.

"Never," said Nick.

"Lunatic pig," said Lenny.




That evening Nick watched part of the autopsy of Janelle Vonn. It was performed by Dr. Warren Gershon at the Meak Brothers Funeral Home in Santa Ana because the Coroner's Department had no autopsy room. Certain county funeral homes allowed the autopsies to be performed on site, no charge. But Nick knew they pressured the next of kin to have the embalming and funeral arrangements done there, too. Wives and husbands crazy with grief. Made some good money that way. Meak Brothers was located downwind of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and Nick went from the smell of deep-fried thighs to formaldehyde as he walked in the embalming room door.

From California Girl by T Jefferson Parker.  Copyright T Jefferson Parker 2004.  All rights reserved.  This excerpt starts half way through Chapter 11.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.