Summary and book reviews of California Girl by T Jefferson Parker

California Girl

A Novel

by T Jefferson Parker

California Girl by T Jefferson Parker X
California Girl by T Jefferson Parker
  • 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

Book Summary

The emotionally wrenching tale of three brothers and the brutal act that irrevocably changes their lives.

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 ...

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!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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 (217 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

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.

Reader Reviews

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!

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.

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by T Jefferson Parker

If you liked California Girl, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Collection
    The Last Collection
    by Jeanne Mackin
    What it's about:
    The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin follows the lives of two internationally ...
  • Book Jacket: Mrs. Everything
    Mrs. Everything
    by Jennifer Weiner
    Mrs. Everything spans six decades of an American family. We meet the Kaufman sisters Josette 'Jo' ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tip of the Iceberg
    by Mark Adams
    In the late 19th century, railroad magnate Edward Harriman decided he needed a break from his ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Collection
    by Jeanne Mackin

    A vivid novel about the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Volunteer
    by Jack Fairweather

    The true story of one man, an underground army, and the secret mission to destroy Auschwitz from within.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense…"
Entertainment Weekly

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win In the Full Light of the Sun

New from Clare Clark!

"Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs."
- Publishers Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A A A Day K T D A

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.