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on April 2, 2009
Ultimately, I enjoyed this book a lot less than I thought I was going to. I enjoyed the details and the characterization, until the latter began to fall apart. People intended to be sympathetic just don't come across that way (I really kept wondering why everyone thought Ann was so wonderful, when she was consistently anything but - and to say I didn't get the appeal of the hero's old flame is putting it mildly), and the ending.... Well, it's difficult to say much without giving away spoilers, but the ending ruined the book for me in terms of enjoyment. It was clever in a technical sense, but not very believable when added to all the misdirection. Ultimately, I just don't like the kinds of mysteries where everyone ultimately rings false and everyone has dark secrets, especially when you are drawn into what you think is the decency of at least some of the characters.
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on February 19, 2015
Parker Has gifted us with so many worthy quotes in this book that I thought it appropriate to use a quote by Fred Allen to complement him "He writes so well he makes me feel like putting my quill back in my goose"''

You can see what I mean if you X-Ray this book and read the quotes highlighted by previous readers. Here is my favorite which seems to fit our times.."Those ignorant of history are not doomed to repeat it....that would be a staggering accomplishment . They are simply doomed to ignorance of everything else"

The main characters , Jim Weir,Raymond Cruz, and the murder victim Ann Cruz (thru her journal) are well described. The plot follows the quest of Husband Raymond and Ann"s brother Jim as they hunt for evidence to prove the guilt of the person who murdered Ann. Several suspects appear including Ann's former high school and currant lover who is a wealthy land developer,
and a convicted sex offender who has served his time and has
Moved into the area. His previous crime facts match the evidence in Ann's murder.

A sub-plot in the back ground may have played a part in the murder due to Ann's activities in the movement to stave off the development of land grabbers who may be dumping chemical waste off the coast line to bring down the value of property in the area.

Parker's scenes in most of his novels are in Southern California. His later books have scenes in Mexico. This book deals with the attempt to turn quaint Newport Beach into a thriving Metropolis. Back in the late 70"s and 80's when I was a licensed P.I. So. Cal was one of my most popular areas to work in.

The ending seemed me to be a little hurried. It was a twist meant to be unexpected but I believe most readers had already figured out who the guilty party was a chapter or two back before the big reveal. The best reading in the book, for me, were the quotes. Especially the long speech by 91 year old Doris Tharp who was adamant about saving the old Newport Beach with it's charm and not debasing the coast line with massive traffic jams and huge hotels.

This third effort written in the 80's by T. Jefferson Parker is before some of his outstanding novels eg, WHERE SERPENTS LIE and SILENT JOE. But like those two it also deserves the
5 STAR rating. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by
Roger Shepherd
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on October 2, 2015
This is my first Jefferson Parker novel. Although originally published in 1992, it didn't seem dated (except for the absence of cell phones). The writing was quite good. The problem I had with this story is that the victim, the sister of protagonist Jim Weir, was not likable. Although the author keeps telling us that everyone liked Ann, he doesn't give the reader any reason to agree with him. We also don't have any reason to like his brother-in-law, mother, love interest, or anyone on the Newport Beach police department. The mystery is interesting for about three-quarters of the story. But then it seems repetitive, and you want resolution. The last few chapters have you guessing who Ann's killer was. All in all, a good read.
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on December 24, 2014
I enjoyed this 1991 thriller by T. Jefferson Parker immensely. It is a complicated story regarding the "progress" coming to the city of Newport Beach, as well as the story of a complicated and dysfunctional family, as well as a murder mystery.

Jim Weir returns to the city where he once lived after being in the salvage business for a few years. During this time, his sister Ann is murdered. She was married to a sheriff's deputy, whon is also a friend of Jim's, Raymond Cruz, and the couple had been expecting their first child, although Ann was 39 years old at the time of her death. There are numerous plot twists and surprises in this book, so many that at times, I found myself holding my breath for the next new development.

It is a tragic and sad story, but also a story of forgiveness and redemption. I thought it was extremely well written and one of the best of Parker's novels.
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Having read many of Parker's more recent books, I decided to read Pacific Beat, which was his third book written in 1991. This book clearly demonstrates that even early-on in his career Parker had a strong talent for creating intricate plots, rich characters, lots of atmosphere and believable, tough prose. Pacific Beat is a story of murder and corruption in Newport Beach, CA, and, in typical Parker fashion, has some interesting plot twists and a surprising ending. Two factors, however, kept me from giving this book a 5-star rating (and almost caused me to lower my rating to 3 1/2 stars). One, and the bigger of the two factors, is that it is a little too long and tended to drag at times. For me, this problem would have been overcome, if it was about 50 pages or so shorter. The second factor is that a few of the surprises seemed a bit too contrived. While not Parker's best book (which to me is Where Serpents Lie), Pacific Beat is worth reading.
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on December 21, 2014
An excellent story by a great writer. Somehow I missed this one when it came out but glad I found it. Loved the OC setting (since I live there), the characters, and of course the wonderful writing. Nothing is as it seems and only after reaching the final pages do all the personal and political intrigues come together. Don't miss this one.

DP Lyle, Award-winning author of the Samantha Cody and Dub Walker thriller series
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on November 4, 2014
Excellent. Loved the story line and characters - the good ones, of course. Even read it all the way through with tea breaks and snacks only. Always immerse myself in the story as if I am right there, tears and laughter go along with that, so I keep the tissue box handy. First read of this author - way to go Parker..
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on November 3, 2014
I have come to appreciate his work in a way I never noticed before. He is a fine writer whose books have captured my imagination, caught up in world I don't know as a Northern Californian, and able to clearly envision a landscape I have only briefly visited as a tourist. California, Southern California in particular is a character in Parker' s work as surely as the finely drawn characters who populate his novels. If you haven't read Parker's books and are looking for something of substance to read I strongly suggest you start with this one.
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on August 2, 2014
Parker is a master of surprise. One never knows what actually happened. He manages to weave more than one plot. The reader will be breathless at the final chapter.
Pacific Heat was not what I expected. It was much more. Should you decide to read this book plan to stay up late at night.
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on November 1, 2014
The book is wordy but great story. Lots of twists, really good characters but I think the ending left a few open questions. The murder and murderer solved, the BIG mystery around it solved but you want to know what happened to Proposition A !
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