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Laguna Heat

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  721 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Where every day the sun makes a promise the nighttime breaks, while the super-rich live out expensive fantasies in posh beach house and drown their memories in Cuervo Gold Margaritas.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,131)
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James Thane
Nov 26, 2011 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Tom Shephard is the new homicide detective in swanky Laguna Beach, California, and he's come to town from L.A. after killing a boy in a justifiable homicide. But the rep and the psychological baggage has followed him to Laguna Beach. Shephard has barely found his desk when he's called to the scene of a particularly brutal homicide in which the victim has been doused in turpentine and set ablaze. Shortly thereafter, a second victim is dealt a similar fate, and Shephard finds himself drawn into a ...more
Jun 08, 2010 mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Laguna Heat is Parker's first novel, which is my favorite read--first novels. I did this backwards, becoming a fan of Parker, then searching out his first work. Yep, maybe his best. Fitzgerald said of Hemingway: Something happened to him when he was twenty, he wrote about it, and then just wrote the same story over and over. Well, that's true of most fiction writers and it's true of Parker. (That's why I like First novels - they usually represent what it is an author has to offer. Many people (m ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-mystery, 2015
In T.Jefferson Parker's mystery debut, Laguna Heat, he really brought on the heat in this stellar mystery. For Tom Shepard, he was a disgraced LAPD detective from a shooting of a young black teen, he moved to Laguna Beach. From there, he investigated a trail of fire murders, a path that lead him back to his darkest past of his mother's murder. When he finally encountered the man who destroyed his family, all best were off, when he discovered the cold truth on what lead to it and what happened be ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I have read a lot of T. Jefferson Parker's novels, somehow I missed this one (published in 1985) and it was even made into a movie two years later! I didn't see the movie either. The story is captivating. A young police officer in Laguna Beach (transferred from L.A.) has baggage from his former job, and also from his family life. His mother was killed when he was about three. During the course of this novel, two other people involved in Shepard's past are murdered, and one is attacked. ...more
No one does delving into the sins of omission and commission in the old gentry like Ross MacDonald who seemed almost to have a patent on the genre. Parker does a successful emulation in Laguna Heat.

Tom Shephard, recently retired from the LAPD where he was a decorated detective, but also the subject of widespread vilification for shooting a sixteen-year-old, has been hired to work as the homicide detective for Laguna Beach (annual homicide rate 0.5). His first case finds him looking for the kille
3 no 7
Aug 05, 2015 3 no 7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading Laguna Heat for the second time. (The first was a LONG time ago.) I was impressed that the story held up so well after thirty years. This just reinforces the quality of T. Jefferson Parker’s writing right from the start of his career. The story focused on the characters and their interactions, not on frivolous technology or popular culture references that would have immediately dated the novel. With the possible exceptions of the ease with which the characters got through ...more
Dec 21, 2009 Lee rated it really liked it
I read somewhere that when Michael Connelly moved to Florida, T J Parker was the best mystery/thriller writer living in California. I would pretty much agree to that. This was his first novel ('85),and a very good setting in southern Calif, with a homicide cop digging into a mystery that goes back some forty years.
There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. There’s a touch of romance, a bit of action, and some gunplay, all fairly standard in a mystery. But there is nothing really special about this novel.

According to information on Stop You’re Killing Me (, this was Parker’s first book, and it shows. There are many flashes of brilliance in his narrative, but in some places, the flow of his words is clunky and his dialog reads a bit stilted and forced.

Parker als
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
LOVE LOVE LOVE T.J. Parker. This is one of the earlier ones, and I really like it.
May 18, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite (along with "Silent Joe") of all Parker's novels. This guy can write!
Oct 25, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. Jefferson is one of the few authors who makes me FEEL Southern California through some of the most powerful descriptive writing of any author using SOCAL as a setting. As I read Parker's crisp, clean prose I can almost smell the Eucalyptus, hear the crunch of tires on gravel roads, sense the salt air of the ocean, and feel the heat coming off of the asphalt in Orange County cities. His wonderful ability to set describe Southern California bumped this rating up slightly.

However, having read Pa
Lance Charnes
Feb 16, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Southern California noir
After reading the Charlie Hood series and a couple of Parker's later standalones, it's interesting to go back to the beginning of the author's fiction career, to the first book that broke big for him.

Laguna Heat shares much with Parker's later works -- the sharply-rendered Southern California setting, the conflicted and wounded law enforcement officer/protagonist, the pervasive rot behind the sunsets and palm trees. But he wrote this book as he was finding his stride as a novelist, and Laguna He
After killing a teenager in the line of duty, Tom Shepard resigns his big-city police badge and heads home to Laguna Beach to be sole member of the homicide division. His first case turns into a serial murder case where the murderer is sending the victims Bibles before he comes to murder them and burn their bodies.

As Tom investigates the murders, he begins to discover connections to his father, Wade Shepard, a former police officer and present-day minister. These connections also unearth informa
Oct 26, 2015 Mom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brutal murders of passion lead our detective to discover crimes affecting his own past. Only disappointing in the forced sex angle--why are these predictable, unstable female characters ubiquitous in these murder/crime stories? And why does our hero always tolerate their vicious, violent assaults? Because they always start blubbering as an excuse for escaping accountability?
Cheryl Gill
Sep 27, 2014 Cheryl Gill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
T. Jeff Parker's first novel from back in the 80's. Exciting and moves along. Jeff has improved as a writer over the years. His newer books are better crafted. But this was a great first novel for an Orange County boy coming out of UCI's first creative writing program with his Master's Degree.
Barbara Schultz
I complete forgot I had read this back in 1985. This book has been selected for the summer book club by the OC Register. I believe I need to reread.
Jun 19, 2014 Cat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
well written, but very dated. somehow the ending wasn't satisfying; everything got resolved, but maybe it was too easy? I can't put my finger on it. still, enjoyable read.
Paulus Mango
Apr 30, 2016 Paulus Mango rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-thrillers
Better writing than most crime/thrillers. Characters and setting very convincing.
Sep 16, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nasty series of murders involving bibles, burned bodies and a Southern California private club fills this mystery with a hopeful flare into the SoCal crime pantheon. T. Jefferson Parker can write, he can tell a good story with rounded out characters and scene settings but the cliches pile up like banged up classic cars at a Southern California drive-in.
The mystery is good, with a particularly nasty way of dispatch, but as a whole it's not up there, cohesively, as Ross McDonald's The Goodbye L
Melody Burge
Jan 04, 2016 Melody Burge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it, very well written, a shame it wasn't part of a series
Apr 04, 2011 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the main character Tom Shepard, who was strong but a little broken. His move from a cop in the big city to the small town was trite but fairly believable. There were lots of twists and turns that kept you guessing, which was good, except for part of the subplot about his mother, which made me uncomfortable. All in all a quick read because it was a good page turner.
Suzanne Kelly
I have read other T. Jefferson Parker books and really liked them. This one started off slow but about a third of the way through it picked up and I thought the ending was very strong. The dialogue was weak though and Tom's use of "chum" and "buddy" seemed really strange. It irritated me every time I read it.
Sep 04, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first T. Jefferson Parker book. We are hosting the author at a library event at the Corona Public Library in October 2013 and thought I should read a book of his.
I really enjoyed this stand alone novel. Parker is famous for his Charlie Hood books but this one was a fun crime/cop read!

3* The Blue Hour
2* Iron River
TR Red Light
3* Laguna Heat

Aug 14, 2012 Ken rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. A pretty standard detective story, except that it stretched credibility to the breaking point, the main character seemed weak and tepid, and the whole story just didn't interest me very much.
Lynette Barfield
May 23, 2012 Lynette Barfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-cds-done
Very good book. Parker is one of my favorite authors so I like pretty much everything he writes. This is his first book. Don't know why it took so long to get to it.
Jul 25, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. Jefferson Parker's very first novel. And a pretty good one at that. From all the way back in 1985. I like his novels and thought I would read his first. Good choice.
Jan 20, 2010 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
Returning home after a stint in the LAPD, Tom Sheppard has to solve several vicious murders reaching back to his cop father's generation. A bit far fetched and twisted.
Riley Cooper
Jun 15, 2012 Riley Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Could really feel the California setting, much like James Lee Burke makes you feel the Louisiana heat. Great first novel. On to the next one...
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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
More about T. Jefferson Parker...

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