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

    Genres

  • 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 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...continued

Full Review (217 words).

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

(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Best Laid Plans
    Best Laid Plans
    by Gwen Florio
    When starting a series, first impressions are key. Introducing a sympathetic or relatable ...
  • Book Jacket: Last Night at the Telegraph Club
    Last Night at the Telegraph Club
    by Malinda Lo
    Author Malinda Lo takes readers to Chinatown, San Francisco in 1954, where 17-year-old Lily Hu is ...
  • Book Jacket: No One Is Talking About This
    No One Is Talking About This
    by Patricia Lockwood
    If anyone knows the ins and outs of living online, it's Patricia Lockwood. Before her stellar memoir...
  • Book Jacket: A Thousand Ships
    A Thousand Ships
    by Natalie Haynes
    Recent years have seen a trend in reinventions of Greek myths and legends, some from the ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Black Widows
    by Cate Quinn

    A brilliant joyride in the company of three sister-wives with nothing in common except their dead husband.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Narrowboat Summer
by Anne Youngson
From the author of Meet Me at the Museum, a charming novel of second chances.
Win This Book!
Win Band of Sisters

Band of Sisters
by Lauren Willig

"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines…A triumph."
— Fiona Davis

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

P G Before A F

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.