A thousand steps

T. Jefferson Parker

Book - 2022

"Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment. Matt Antony is just trying get by. Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom's a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother's fighting in Nam . . . and his big sister Jazz has just gone missing. The cops figure she's just another runaway ...hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn't believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach. All Matt really wants to do is get his driver's license and ask out the girl he's been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it's up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don't trust the hippies and the hippies don't trust the cops, uncovering what's really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast. If it's not already too late"--

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Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Forge, Tom Doherty Associates Book 2022.
First edition
Physical Description
358 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
T. Jefferson Parker (author)
Review by Booklist Review

It's summer 1968 in Laguna Beach, California, but it's not a groovy time for 16-year-old Matt Anthony. Dad jumped ship years ago, Mom spends her time in a drug haze, Matt's brother is in Vietnam, and his sister, Jazz, has disappeared. He'd like to be getting closer to longtime crush Laurel, or just hanging out at the local head shop, but, instead, he's shouldering the kind of bone-crushing adult responsibilities that are currently prompting droves of Laguna Beach's actual adults to turn on and drop out. First on the list is finding Jazz, who may have become involved with a shady cult and its slithery guru. Then there's keeping food on the table with an early-morning paper route and dodging a crew cut cop who wants Matt to work undercover at the head shop. Yes, this is as much sensitive coming-of-age novel as it is edgy thriller, but there are definitely some noirish-looking clouds on the horizon. Parker juggles his disparate elements superbly, making us wonder if hardworking Matt may one day transform himself into the Dude from The Big Lebowski.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The backdrop to this solid standalone from Edgar winner Parker, set in 1968 Laguna Beach, Calif., is the burgeoning counterculture--hippies, drugs, be-ins, and protests--but 16-year-old Matt Anthony is mostly worried about his fractured family. His dad has fled. His mom's addicted to hash and opium. His brother's fighting in Vietnam. And his sister, 18-year-old Jasmine, has gone missing, last seen at a stairway to the beach. The police, who don't take Jasmine's disappearance seriously and are busy trying to bust drug dealers, think she's just another rebellious runaway. So Matt works tirelessly to find his sister, but his plan--to canvass every house in Laguna Beach--feels more desperate than useful. He's also reluctantly roped in to help the cops investigate local drug trafficking. Parker offers a telling perspective on the people who used youth culture to traffic drugs (and much worse), but this works best as a thoughtful coming-of-age novel and a portrait of a Southern California town in the throes of substantial societal change. Crime fiction fans may just find enough to like. (Jan.)

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