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.
‘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.