T. Jefferson Parker: in brief
Excerpt from the interview by W.E. Reinka in the April/May 2006 issue of Mystery News
At first glance, the computer screen and keyboard make this look like any other home office. Then the eyes travel past the shelf of reference books over to the framed photos of outdoor adventures and the fly fishing rods that take their place alongside worn hiking boots and a yellow scuba mask. It's a man's private lair. It's the metal shop behind his house where T. Jefferson Parker writes fiction.
Parker has written five novels in that room since moving down the coast from Orange County too Fallbrook, an hour north of San Diego. He's made some changes since moving. Perhaps the biggest change career-wise is adding the prefix of "Two-time Edgar winner" to his name after writing first Silent Joe, then California Girl in that room. His novels still show their strong sense of locale but the locales are changing, too. He writes less frequently about Orange County where Parker, now 52, lived most of his life. His new mystery, The Fallen, is the second of his thirteen novels that he's set in San Diego...
San Diego's notorious scandals with their mix of greed, stupidity and occasional nobility have provided plenty of grist for the writer's mill. Mismanagement and graft so thoroughly infected the city that it jeopardized its ability to issue bonds. Parker flushes with outrage as he recounts the depletion of the city pension fund. "You want to say, 'C'mon guys, what made you think you could get away with it?'"...
The city's bond rating is not the only thing that slips in The Fallen. In the latest of his exquisitely written prologues, Parker shows honest cop Robbie Brownlaw just sitting down to a sandwich when a blast shatters the sixth floor windows in the hotel across the street. With his "heart pounding like a dryer with a load of sneakers," Brownlaw rushes into the building. After carrying out an old woman, her returns to the flames. No good deed goes unpunished. On the sixth floor he encounters the arsonist who grabs Brownlaw, twirls him around and throws him out the window. Brownlaw's life flashes by in a zip file until he crashes through the hotel awning "like an anvil through a bedsheet." The awning slows him just enough so that the fall doesn't kill him.
But it changes his life forever...
The Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker
Published by: William Morrow
Read the complete interview in the April/May 2006 issue of Mystery News