by T. Jefferson Parker
Category: Fiction / Mystery
0 pages; ISBN: 0060562366
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
T. Jefferson Parker
Morrow, Oct 2004, $24.95, 384 pp.
The Becker and Vonn families share a history that goes back years starting when they rumbled in the old packinghouse because a member of the former threw a hat belonging to the latter to a dog. When the Beckers apologized for the incident, they noticed that five years old Janelle Vonn had a black eye. Years later Janette attended a sermon given by David Becker. Afterward she told David and his two brothers, police officer Nick and reporter Andy, that her siblings forced her to have sex with them.
Nick was able to get her siblings arrested and the Becker clan tried to keep Janellee safe. Nick arrives at that same packinghouse to lead his first homicide investigation, the decapitation of Janellete. As he digs deeper, his two brothers feed him information, which leads to a suspect in Mexico. Across the border a shoot out occurs leaving eight dead and Nick severely injured. Still he thinks he has an open and shut case, but Andy thinks otherwise.
CALIFORNIA GIRL is not the author’s ultra dark and foreboding crime thriller though it is bleak, but instead is an intriguing police procedural. Readers come to know the goodness of the Beckers especially since the tale is predominantly told from the perspective of the three brothers (and the badness of the Vonns). This contrast turns into a two edge sword as the rivalry causes adrenaline pumping suspense, but the extremes are too simplistic; then again perhaps if the Vonns told the tale the magnetic poles would switch. T. Jefferson Parker provides an action packed cerebral crime thriller starring a trio of likable siblings.
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