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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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Message GLloyd Rowsey
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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.  


KT, the Bean, and me departing,
KT, the Bean, and me departing,
(Image by Personal Files)
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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.



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.



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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