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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/9/12

An Appreciation of T. Jefferson Parker's California Girl, Baja California, and KT.

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In 1975, I was living with a lady I'll call KT while we were working in the Student Financial Aid Office at U.C. Berkeley; and, after our collaboration writing a book of advice for California applicants for student financial aid had failed (due to my hard-headedness), we decided to take a trip from the Bay Area to Baja California in a very used 1967 VW bus I was driving at the time.  Both of us innocent as hell and not sure if we were still in love.  

 


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We crossed over at Tijuana, and proceeded slowly down Mexico State Highway 1, grooving on the rapidly changing sea- and landscapes and loving Mexico.

 

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T. Jefferson Parker is the best police procedural writer I've ever read, and California Girl may be the fifteenth book he's written. Three of his earliest books -- Black Water, Red Light, and The Blue Hour -- feature Merci Rayborn, a very strong woman working for a Southern California Police Department; these three books were smash-hits in the 1990's, but Parker published California Girl in 2004, and his awesome fame and prolific-ness decided me: if I'm going to appreciate California Girl at OEN, I'll simply present excerpts from Chapter 30.

 

In fact, California Girl's Chapter 30 stands alone as a perfect little jewel of T. Jefferson's art - after 284 pages of Southern California during the Vietnam War, of John Birchers, Nixonites, motorcyclists-hippie-druggies, a Drive-In Theater Converted to a Drive-In Christian Church, beautiful women and beauty queens (one of whom gets murdered and her head cut off), hard-headed men, and of course Southern California Law Enforcement persons.

 

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By Chapter 30, two San Diego County Sheriff officers -- Lucky Lobdell and Nick Becker - have decided to drive incognito down into Baja in pursuit of their primary suspect in the beheading of a local (Tustin, California) beauty queen, the suspect being a highly intelligent and vicious motorcycle-riding-drugdealer whose base of operations is in Baja California, well south of Tijuana.    

 

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
 
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