Laguna Heat
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Laguna Heat

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  472 ratings  ·  32 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 September 1st 1985)
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James Thane
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
mark
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
Valerie
I believe this was Parker's first novel (published in 1985), and it was made into a film. It is quite a convoluted tale about a young police officer in Laguna Beach who is called on to investigate the murders and attempted murder of friends of his father's who is retired from the police force and in current time, is a minister. The motives for these murders go far back into the past; and I was quite shocked to learn of all the players in this drama and what had transpired in the past. I think th...more
Eric_W
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...more
Lee
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.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
LOVE LOVE LOVE T.J. Parker. This is one of the earlier ones, and I really like it.
Kathy
My favorite (along with "Silent Joe") of all Parker's novels. This guy can write!
David
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...more
Lance Charnes
Feb 16, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Jen
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...more
Cat
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.
John
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...more
Crystal
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.
Robin
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!
Ken
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
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.
Jon
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.
Skip
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


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...
Carol
Aug 07, 2011 Carol rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noone
Written in 1985. Parker has improved with age. Very hard book for me to get into. I did finish it but did not beleve in it. Enough said.
Zach
Interesting. References to Orange County very entertaining, if you are familiary with some of the region's politics and civic "leaders".
Lisa
I liked the local flavor of this novel. It gave me a feeling of what Laguna Beach could have been like in the early 70's.
Wendy
Several of the subplots were too farfetched. Much of the ending was too predictable. (I really do hate to be right!!)
Mb
Good story, I wish the main character was a little more developed, but a good book overall.
Allison
wonderful Southern California atmosphere, evocative writing, great storytelling
Harriet
An uncomplicated easy to figure out mystery. A fun read...probably a 3 1/2.
..
Craig Buck
Masterful writing. A great read. Parker at his best. Nuff said.
Sandra
Beautifully written mystery by the beach. Am definitely a fan!
Elisabeth Newbold
Plot, flow, language, all pretty good - just not my favorite genre.
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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...
L.A. Outlaws (Charlie Hood, #1) California Girl Silent Joe The Blue Hour The Fallen

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