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Silent Joe

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,463 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
With the horrible remnants of a childhood tragedy forever visible across his otherwise handsome face, Joe Trona is scarred in more ways than one. Rescued from an orphanage by Will Trona, a charismatic Orange County politician who sensed his dark potential, Joe is swept into the maelstrom of power and intimidation that surrounds his adoptive father's illustrious career. ...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published April 25th 2001 by Hyperion (first published April 2001)
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Of Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckEast of Eden by John SteinbeckThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Novels Set in California
94th out of 551 books — 287 voters
The Black Echo by Michael ConnellyThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréEye of the Needle by Ken FollettThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythIn the Woods by Tana French
Edgar Award Winners
42nd out of 84 books — 134 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 06, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: completed
Silent Joe is an intense novel. Joe really isn't all that silent, but he is one of the most interesting characters I've read in a long, long time.

As an infant, Joe's biological father threw acid on his face and his mother deserted him. Joe is scarred for life. He is adopted by an Orange County sheriff's deputy who eventually becomes a county supervisor. As an adult, Joe becomes his driver whenever his adopted father needs some protection. And, early in the book, Joe is present when his adopted
Rebecca McNutt
May 14, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Maybe I was just happy to have something to read during communications tech class, maybe I was just bored, but despite its piles of bad reviews, I loved Silent Joe and found it to be a fast-paced mystery; at times it's deeply sad and depressing and at other times it's a gripping and intriguing mystery with unexpected turns of events.
Dec 30, 2009 jo rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
t. jefferson parker has a style i like very much. i like the way he constructs his sentences, but i like even better the way he constructs his paragraphs and his pages. i like that he doesn't tell us too much, and if that means that we don't understand everything that goes on at any given time, so be it. i like that the scenes are well constructed and that they are sustained by an inner (aesthetic?) necessity. i like that they give a sense of the characters (or at least the protagonist/s – TJP ...more
I had somehow missed hearing of T. Jefferson Parker until I saw that he had won the Edgar for Best Novel not once, but twice. The first, in 2002, was for Silent Joe. It's a standalone novel of Orange County, California, and one thing that came immediately to mind as I read it was "No wonder they went bankrupt!" The Orange County of Parker's book (and evidently this is his preferred setting) is rife with political corruption, greedy developers, racial tension, gang violence, and people with secre ...more
Mark Bacon
Aug 14, 2014 Mark Bacon rated it really liked it
I have a signed copy of Laguna Heat, T. Jefferson Parker’s first mystery novel. It was a gift from a friend. My wife and I were living not far from Laguna at the time and it was a huge treat to receive the book. Everyone in Orange County was talking about it.

A few years later I met Parker when he was a speaker at an unusual college course on forensic science. In class, Parker talked about his book, his background as a newspaper reporter and some of the details of writing a good mystery story.

Aug 13, 2016 Marleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my third T. Jefferson Parker and it’s his best so far. Silent Joe is that type of novel, a mystery/thriller driven by the depth of the writing and the originality of characterization that doesn't take away from the fast-paced nature of the plot. It’s that fabulously complex blending of psychological suspense with a private investigative tale that works because of the main character. I have to admit that Joe Trona is a unique character. I enjoyed his reflective moods, his intelligence and ...more
Cathy DuPont
Feb 24, 2012 Cathy DuPont rated it liked it
This book won the Edgar Award for best book of the year? Astonishing!

Storylines: Just fine. B+

Writing: Very readable. B+

Characters: Lacking. C-

The main character, the protagonist if you will (and I hate that word) didn't seem too bright although he was a black belt many times over (if that can be) and well versed with weapons, shooting with both his left and right hands.

However, his social skills were way at the bottom of the well. He attempted to make up for his facial scars by overcompensatin
Sep 18, 2010 Jacqui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-mystery
I know of no author who writes such unique characters as does T. Jefferson Parker. Joe Trona (the protagonist in Silent Joe) is yet another in Parker's stable of main characters that I loved getting to know. He is the 23-year-old adopted son of a politician who spends his entire life thankful to the father who saved him from a family-less life--picked Joe from among all other children in the Home despite the acid burns that covered half of Joe's face. From that day forward, Trona hones his body ...more
Jan 25, 2011 TBML rated it really liked it
Bittersweet thriller about a man's anguished search for his father's killer. Joe Trona is a dutiful son, but horrible facial scars have made him an outcast. He lived in an orphanage until he was adopted at five by Will Trona, a powerful politician in Southern California's Orange County. As a hulking teenager and later as a young man, Joe became Will's right-hand man running errands, extracting revenge on enemies all the while living a lonely life because of his scars. One night, Joe drops his ...more
Steve Chaput
Jun 14, 2016 Steve Chaput rated it really liked it
Young Joe was scarred by his father, abandoned by his mother and left in an orphanage, until Will Trona and his family adopted him. Years later, Joe, following in his adopted father's footsteps is working for the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. in California. A trained marksmen and martial-artist, Joe assists his father, now an influential politician, in his nighttime activities, some of which border on the illegal. When Joe is unable to stop the brutal murder of his father, he vows to find those ...more
Jim Crocker
Mar 01, 2013 Jim Crocker rated it it was amazing
Yunno. This was a compelling read. Joe's a special guy and you can't help but root for him.

Orange County California is a weird, wacky and wonderful place. Sometimes, I actually miss it -- especially Sunset Beach.

Unfortunately, this text was not copy-edited (or it was a poor job). I can't imagine why Parker would put it out like this. There're typos all over the place. Missing quote marks. Goofy words. Try to over-look this stuff -- even laugh at the flops. Concentrate on Joe. He's a piece of wor
Sep 09, 2012 J rated it really liked it


Though I love all that I've ready by T. Jefferson Parker, I feel the writing in "Silent Joe" is of literary quality, somehow beyond the level of his other popular titles (at least the ones I've read.)

The silent Joe, protagonist Joe Trona Jr., is well developed from the inside out. We know his quirks, his fears, his on-target assessments of other people,even those he leaves.

I saw coming, from a long distance off, the
Apr 17, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it
Interesting, even riveting plot, cast is fully developed, well-written and worth reading - like most of the author's work. Recommended for those liking this genre.
Dec 23, 2013 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, favorites
Another of my favorite books of Parker's. Really wonderful...layered....poignant.
Kirsty Darbyshire
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2013 Judi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2001
"A dog can keep a secret, but a man has to learn when he's doing more harm then good with it."

Joe Trona, at age 24, is already hard-boiled. During the day, he's a Deputy for the Orange County Sheriff's Department assigned to work at the Central Jail Complex, as are all new deputies. He's been working this job for four years, and after one more year he can be reassigned to patrol and start becoming a real cop. But he's not just passing time, he really likes working Men's Central because it remind
Jun 14, 2011 Manugw rated it it was ok

This is not a cops suspenseful tale, this book is all about Joe Trona's life, the twenty something weapons master, martial arts expert police deputy with a partly disfigured face, product of the work of a vengeful dissapointed empty-headed father that thrown him acid when he was in his crib after he learned that he was not his seed.
Years later, Will Trona, stepfather of Joe Trona a politician with clout and shady deals, is murdered before Joe Trona's eye
Aug 30, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. Jefferson Parker writes action- and tension-filled novels set in and about my old home town of Tustin, California. I read several of his works, beginning with California Girl, before reading this one, but I see that (as of 30 August 2013) I haven't entered any of them in GoodReads. Why, I can't recall.

I was introduced to Parker's novels by my cousin, Alan Titensor, when I happened to run into him in the parking lot of our church in Laguna Beach. We, my wife and I, were in California for an ar
"Silent Joe" tells the story of fatherly love and admiration mixed with a strong desire to be accepted and to succeed.

Joe's face was scarred as a baby when acid was thrown in his face. His birth mother deserted him and his father of record ended up in jail for this crime.

As we see Joe, he is the driver and bodyguard for his father, Will. He's also a sheriff at a local jail.

This is a psychological novel in which we see Joe as an extremely polite, mild mannered man. He states that the happiest day
Parker, T. Jefferson – Silent Joe – VG
With the horrible remnants of a childhood tragedy forever visible across his otherwise handsome face, Joe Trona is scarred in more ways than one. Rescued from an orphanage by Will Trona, a charismatic Orange County politician who sensed his dark potential, Joe is swept into the maelstrom of power and intimidation that surrounds his adoptive fathers illustrious career. Serving as Wills right-hand man, Joe is trained to protect and defend his fathers territory
Aug 20, 2013 Kurt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just can't go higher than three stars here. And this was an Edgar Award winner? My first exposure to author T. Jefferson Parker and his cliched characterizations hasn't compelled me to check into any of his series, but don't let that stop you from enjoying a nice "beach read." Joe Trona (the Silent Joe of title) is quite the composite character, unbelievably possessed of awesome martial arts/grappling skills (which he never really unleashes on the badguys), high-speed/performance driving ...more
Oct 08, 2013 Carey rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Finally! A book that combines my two great loves: local transportation politics and detective fiction. Definitely read this book if you want a mystery featuring the Orange County Transportation Authority and county Board of Supervisors.

Otherwise, maybe or maybe not read it. I have to give the book credit for going far beyond your typical police procedural. But the protagonist, Joe Trona, was a bit emotionally flat for my taste, to the point of not always being believable. Things fell into place
T. Jefferson Parker is an excellent writer; his characters are detailed, complex, and well-drawn; his plots are complicated, twisting, and completely believable; and his prose is wonderfully descriptive without being heavy or tough to read. Silent Joe lives up to Mr. Parker's standard. In fact, it is one of my favorites of his books now. I felt bonded with the characters. Silent Joe, the main protagonist, is the adopted son of Will, a tough businessman in a town in California. Joe was burned ...more
Richard Thompson
May 22, 2016 Richard Thompson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
From the Goodread blurb:

With the horrible remnants of a childhood tragedy forever visible across his otherwise handsome face, Joe Trona is scarred in more ways than one. Rescued from an orphanage by Will Trona, a charismatic Orange County politician who sensed his dark potential, Joe is swept into the maelstrom of power and intimidation that surrounds his adoptive father's illustrious career. Serving as Will's right hand man, Joe is trained to protect and defend his father's territory - but he c
Jan 17, 2016 Booknblues rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, bnb
There is much to be learned when you keep your mouth shut. Working as a body guard for his adoptive father horribly scarred silent Joe took everything in. He learned not to talk, but to listen. Joe became an invisible man. This unfortunately served him well, when it came time for him to track the murderers of one crime he did not want to contemplate.
T. Jefferson Parker presents a world of wheeling and dealing politicians ensconced in southern California. They are all ready to sell their souls an
Jun 14, 2008 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like all the T. Jefferson Parker books (I noted that this is the only one I've seen where they left the T off of the author name), and I liked this one a lot. I bought it at The Book Tree in Khao Lak, Thailand, to read on the beach. On the front of the book, it says "He's scarred for life, and now he wants revenge". So Dotty and I made a lot of fun of that saying things in a deep voice like James Earl Jones announcing CNN: "Silent Joe...he wants revenge...Silent Joe...shut up and drink your ...more
Sep 09, 2016 Ellen rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, it has all the hallmarks of a great thriller and it has a little something extra too. Maybe it's TUT (The Unknown Thing) that Joe mentions in the novel but instead of TUT of a womans beauty & how she holds herself it's TUT that some books seem to have. Who knows?..
This was also a bit tough to read as I am now dealing with facial scarring which I didn't have 18months ago, it was tough in the looks and half looks Joe got by people because I've had those too. I plan
Aug 17, 2008 Melanie rated it it was amazing
I originally started reading T. Jefferson Parker books becaues they were set in Orange County, CA and because I love suspense. This was one of the best stories with suspense, corruption, redemption, all wrapped into one. Nothing was contrived, everything had good description and feeling. I did enjoy the mentions of places in Orange County (where I grew up) it had a familiar feeling -- but you could definitely love this book regardless of the setting. Also, it was interesting to see how Parker ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: police, thriller
I love this book. I have read it many times over the years and each time I get something new from it. The book is told from Joe’s POV and the reader is carried along with him as he learns about his father, his past and ultimately about himself.

At the start of the book he has a blind, total love for his father and by the end he still loves his father but has a much greater understanding of him as a man and as a consequence a greater understanding of himself. I loved Joe’s awkwardness, his vulner
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T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of 20 crime novels, including Edgar Award-winners Silent Joe and California Girl. Parker's next work is a literary novel, Full Measure, to be published in October. He lives with his family in Southern California
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