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August 14, 2008 / C.T. Henry

AUTHOR PROFILE: T. Jefferson Parker

T. Jefferson Parker
Credit: Marion Ettlinger

Maybe not as famous as his two west coast counterparts, Michael Connelly and Robert Crais, T. Jefferson Parker is most definitely in their league.  Born in Los Angeles, Parker has lived all of his life in Southern California. Following a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of California, he started his writing career as a report for the Newport Ensign.  After covering the police and city hall, Parker moved on to the Daily Pilot, where he won three Orange County Press Club awards.  His first book, Laguna Heat, written in his spare time, received rave reviews and was made into an HBO movie.  Since then, he’s written fourteen more books about crime in sunny Southern California.  Mostly a writer of stand-alones, Parker’s only series features the brazen Detective Merci Rayborn. All three books in the series, The Blue Hour, Red Light, and Black Water, easily became bestsellers.  However, it was his two Edgar Awards for Best Novel that really put him on the map.  He won for Silent Joe (one of my all-time favorites) and California Girl.

Another favorite of mine is The Fallen, which didn’t receive as much notoriety of Silent Joe, but is of similar quality.  I mean, who can’t resist reading about a cop with synesthesia?  (It’s a condition which allows him to recognize when suspects and witnesses are lying to him.) Parker is one of the most talented and prolific authors writing mysteries today. If you’ve never read any of his books before, you’re in for a treat.

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

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