Quick Fire At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With T. Jefferson Parker

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T. Jefferson Parker is the critically acclaimed author of numerous crime novels, among them Laguna Heat. The paperback made The New York Times Bestseller list in 1986. He has a new novel out, Full Measure. Jeff met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about the novel and the frontier.

Tell us about Full Measure.

“Full Measure” is a story of American brothers. One, Patrick Norris, is recently returned from bloody combat in Sangin, Afghanistan. His older brother, Ted, is a stay-at-home dreamer, a bit of a lost soul. Their family avocado groves — a third generation Norris family concern — have just been burned to the ground by a wildfire. So the brothers must team up and try to help rescue what’s left of the family business. Of course, complications ensue.

How much do you think the frontier is still part of the American psyche?

I think the frontier is alive and well and American as always. But it’s not so much a geographical frontier anymore. We can’t go farther west, so that leaves space, the deep, maybe some tiny corners of Earth itself that are still unseen. And all of that inner territory between our ears. It feels to me like the pull of the frontier is still in us. You see busloads of people arriving in LA every day, wanting to start over, grab hold, carve out a piece of the American Dream. I guess the last true frontier is possibility.

Do you think much crime fiction is redemptive?

There seems to be a fair amount of redemption in thrillers these days, where a character has misbehaved in the past and now must set things right by meaningful action. My Charlie Hood protagonist certainly feels, throughout the course of the six-book series, that he’d like to execute his mission (preventing the flow of guns from the US to Mexico) but his enemies have ways of thwarting him. But he’s more after satisfaction than redemption. I haven’t really delved into a character deeply in need of redemption since “Where Serpents Lie,” which was 1998. I’m more interested in heroes who, in spite of their very best efforts both past and present, may or may not be sufficient for the task at hand. That’s the way I think most people are.

What else is on the cards for you this year?

I’m touring in America now for “Full Measure.” I’m busy almost every day of October and into November, then things will loosen up. I’ve got a very solid new novel close to finished and hope to be done with it by the new year, or maybe end of January. I can’t talk about it yet because it isn’t done and I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve got a short story to finish by the end of October too. So I’ll be busy.

Thank you Jeff for an insightful and tight interview.

TJParker_350x249_2014_Credit Bruce Jenkin photo TJParker_350x249_2014_CreditBruceJenkin_zps8608a495.jpgLinks:

‘Full Measure’ can be had at the following online stores:
Amazon.com (hardcover and audio CD)
Amazon.co.uk (hardcover, paperback, and audio CD)
Barnes &Noble (hardcover and Nook eBook)
Book Depository (hardcover)
Books-A-Million (hardcover and audio CD)

Click here for a complete list of all T. Jefferson Parker books.

Find T. Jefferson Parker at his website and on Facebook.

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4 Responses to Quick Fire At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With T. Jefferson Parker

  1. K. A. Laity says:

    Sounds like a wild ride.

  2. Miss Alister says:

    Complications ensue, indeed. I think Publisher’s Weekly did the best job of itemizing the lot of them…to the point I know I’d read the book to find out how you pulled all that off, let alone for the pure enjoyment of it!

    Great little interview. I especially enjoyed your answer to the American frontier question, thought it keenly perceptive, well put. The last line of it is powerful.

  3. I certainly agree with Miss Alister’s last line. That “possibility” thing just never stops with me and it just gets better every day.

    TJP: I’m just crazy about all of your stories going back to the beginning. My last stop in California was on the Orange County Coast. That’s before moving to Montana 11 years ago. So I appreciate all the scenarios you’ve brought outta Orange County. Talk about easy pickin’s, eh? Do you ever get any heat from Laguna Heat? Ha! But I must say that Silent Joe was one of your best and it really blew me away.

    I was hoping you would make an appearance at Bouchercon in Long Beach. But, alas, I did get to chat with Thomas Perry and with our own Les Edgerton. Les was certainly in high spirits, I must say.

    So Cheers! to TJP and always to you Richard!!
    Jim in MT

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