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Silent Joe: A Novel Hardcover – April 25, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Scarred for life by a brutal father, Joe Trona found a safe haven and a loving childhood in the home of the couple who adopted him. Now he spends his days as a deputy for the Orange County sheriff's department and his nights as a driver and aide to Will Trona, the influential politician who rescued him from the Hillside Children's Home. An expert in firearms and the martial arts, Joe has been backing Will up for a long time. Still, his skill isn't enough to keep Will alive, and when his father is killed right in front of Joe's eyes, the young deputy vows to avenge him. But first he must find out how the kidnapping of a tycoon's daughter, a scam to line the pockets of Will Trona's political enemies, the murder of two Guatemalan immigrants, the unholy activities of a charismatic minister who's a close friend of the Trona family, and the strange alliance of two rival L.A. gangs are connected to Will's death.

Every secret Joe uncovers leads deeper into his beloved father's murky past and ultimately his own. But the reader stays right with this extraordinary man as he battles his demons and ultimately vanquishes them. Author T. Jefferson Parker (The Blue Hour, Red Light, Laguna Heat) is one of the best thriller writers working today. Fans of Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane--and Raymond Chandler, for that matter--will appreciate Parker's ability to create a complex, fascinating, and fully realized hero whose inner reality is brilliantly revealed by his actions. Will Trona is an equally intriguing invention; while ultimately he is an enigma, we remain convinced that he is worthy of his son's devotion. Silent Joe is a mindful, intelligent novel you can't put down. It should break Parker out with the really big boys of mystery fiction, the million-sellers with the marquee names. In fact, he's a much better writer than most of them, and unlike many, he never tells the same story twice. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

arker (Red Light) lowers the volume from his usual roar and adds a subtle backbeat to this bittersweet thriller about a man's anguished search for his father's killer. Joe Trona is a dutiful son, but horrible facial scars have made him an outcast. He lived in an orphanage until he was adopted at five by Will Trona, a powerful politician in Southern California's Orange County. As a hulking teenager and later as a young man, Joe became Will's right-hand man running errands, extracting revenge on enemies, protecting his flank all the while living a lonely life because of his disfigurement. One night, Joe drops his guard for a moment, and Will is gunned down. Despite aggressive investigations by the FBI and sheriff's department, Joe seeks his own vengeance. He starts sifting through his father's life and gradually discovers that Will brokered secret deals, blackmailed enemies, had extramarital affairs and in his final days appeared to be involved in the kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl. Joe's investigation becomes a personal voyage, casting light on the dark corners of his own past and allowing him to start overcoming the crushing indignity that his injury has forced him to endure. Capped by a violent yet poignant finale, the plot is loaded with familiar Parker themes a faithless government, the heavy hand of big business and the corruption of the wealthy. Parker's tone, however, is more pensive this time. He crafts an intricately layered story reaching beyond his usual domain into more personal territory, at times evoking the work of Ross MacDonald. (Apr. 25)Forecast: A teaser chapter in the paperback of L.A. Times bestseller Red Light, a $150,000 marketing campaign and a five-city author tour will speak up for what is perhaps Parker's most ambitious work to date.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (April 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786867280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786867288
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,627,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Meet Joe Trona, a scarred man.
As a child, Joe had acid thrown on his face by his biological father. Spending much of his youth in an orphanage, Joe, is rescued by politician Will Trona. Tormented by the nightmares of his childhood, Joe, welcomes the love, and acceptance given to him by his new family.
At twenty-four, Joe, now a cop, is his adoptive father's biggest fan. As the ever enthusiastic supporter of Will, he helps his father with his political career, but on an evening of "night business", things go terribly wrong leaving Will dead.
On what started as a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl, turns into a storm of violence, lies, and deception...with Joe wondering if he knew his adoptive father at all.
While trying to find his father's killer, and locate the missing girl, Joe, will uncover all the secrets that Will kept hidden, and he will be forced to face the painful memories of his childhood.
"Silent Joe" is another explosive novel from T.Jefferson Parker. While a suspenseful, page-turning thriller, it is much more, for at the heart of the novel lies the examination of love, and the power of man's spirit to overcome tragedy. With it's strong characters, powerful plot, and strong narrative "Silent Joe" races at break-neck speed to a statisfying conclusion.
T. Jefferson Parker has been consistent with churning out fresh thrillers, and "Silent Joe" is no exception. Although a depature from the style of his previous thrillers, Mr. Parker keeps the pages turning by throwing in twists at every turn.
A MUST read!
Nick Gonnella
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Parker's new novel has all the qualities of what I tell my writing students qualifies as good literature: (1) a world so real the reader becomes a part of it and forgets that he is reading; (2) a plot so compelling and seamless that the reader is carried on its current; (3) characters complex and real enough that the reader believes he knows them personally and can learn from their triumphs and failures; and (4) a life-changing but undefinable quality that leaves the reader at the end a better person than before he read the book.
I have followed Parker's writing since his first novel, Laguna Heat (actually, I was in one of the same writing seminars he was in at the MFA program at UCI in the early-mid 1970s, but neither of us was grown up at the time). I thought then that he had the potential to become one of the best mainstream novelists in America, and Silent Joe continues to confirm my estimation.
I waited until the weekend to begin the book because I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down, and I was almost right. When I got within 50 pages of the end, I set the book down, cleaned the house, washed the dishes, checked my e-mail and played 50 games of double free cell so that I wouldn't have to finish the story. Then I picked it up again and finished. What a triumph! What a wonderful story! I can't think of what could be criticized in any major way -- plot, setting, rhythm, vocabulary, characterization, theme, descriptions, dialogue, -- all of it is superb.
And I will "steal" some of the best lines like how Joe described his reaction to June, the radio journalist he was "attracted to" -- "My heart started thumping like a washing machine with a bad leg."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just read T. Jefferson Parker's new book "Silent Joe". What a great book! I've read his other books and enjoyed them, but this one is even better. While it's called a mystery it's really much more.
It's the story of a young man who was horribly scarred as an infant by an abusive father, abandoned by his mother and raised in an institution for the early years of his life. As a young sheriff's deputy he witnesses the murder of the man who adopted him and becomes determined to find the killer. Along the way he finds his past and his future.
The book is remarkable for it's ability to take you into Joe's mind. You feel his thought process, you feel his pain and see how even bad experiences can result in a good man.
I found myself trying to read slowly to savor the words. Days later I can't stop thinking about it. I still think the only bad part was that it had to end.
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Format: Hardcover
Last summer when his previous novel, RED LIGHT, was in its initial release, I had the rare honor of appearing on the same Round Table West luncheon program in Newport Beach as T. Jefferson Parker. As the author of a recently published mystery set in Orange County, I had the privilege of speaking to our Balboa Bay Club audience immediately before Mr. Parker. During my talk, I stated that Jeff Parker is the author who has taught all the rest of us Orange County mystery writers how to write about our unique region of Southern California.
SILENT JOE continues to prove my point. It is a marvelously complex mystery that is Parker's strongest book to date. It will move him securely into the major league of crime fiction writers with the likes of Sue Grafton, Robert Crais, Sara Paretsky, and Robert B. Parker. In its complexity, it even reminds me of the works of the genre's immortals such as Hammett, Chandler, and Macdonald.
Joe Trona was scarred for life by an acid attack at the hands of his biological father. He is adopted and nurtured by Will Trona, a local politico. When Joe grows up, he aspires to a career in law enforcement. He works in the Orange County jail and moonlights as driver/bodyguard for Will Trona. Will Trona is murdered. Joe wants to avenge the murder of the man who contributed the most to the person he has become. During his investigation, Silent Joe finds himself entangled in the kidnapping of a tycoon's daughter, the murder of two Latino immigrants, and a political corruption scheme. He uncovers long-bured secrets involving Will and himself.
SILENT JOE is an extraordinary work by an extraordinary author. With every book he writes, Jeff Parker continues to show the rest of us Orange County mystery writers how to write about Orange County. Parker's best!
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