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California Girl: 12/06/06
California Girl is a period piece wrapped in a detective novel. It takes place in Orange County (Tustin and Laguna) starting the late 1950s and ending at the close of the century. The bulk of the story is in the 1960s at a time when Orange county was losing its orange groves, America was at war in Viet Nam, LSD and marijuana were drugs of choice and baby boomers were practicing free love.
Some reviewers on Amazon have complained that the book has too many white characters and the Civil Rights movement is never mentioned. In Parker's defense that area was predominantly white and was until recently. That the characters never discuss the Civil Rights movement is in keeping with the character of the area.
Another comment I saw on Amazon was the repeated mentioning of modern forensic tools. I didn't mind them because they drew attention to just how difficult solving a crime can be and to the possibility that the wrong person can be convicted on inconclusive evidence. The story was more interesting that the typical who-done-it where the evidence lines up like a perfect trail to the criminal.
There is just one problem with the story; the identity of the actual criminal. The person behind the murder of Janelle Vonn is the most obvious person. Although with the recent scandals among various Republican lawmakers, I had to chuckle at life almost imitating art.