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T. Jefferson Parker’s New Thriller Is A Timely Tale Of Terrorist Plots, White Supremacy

 August 20, 2019 at 10:34 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 The latest book by Crime Thriller, author t Jefferson Parker opens like a 1940s detective novel, a beautiful woman comes into a private i's office and asks him to find her sister. But the story that unfolds is an incredibly timely tale of abduction, terrorist plots and white supremacy. The setting is San Diego County and its environments and the main character is once again, Parker's ex marine ex sheriff's deputy current private I Roland forward the book is called the last good guy. And joining me is New York Times bestselling author and fall work resident t Jefferson Parker. Jeff, welcome. Thank you. Nice to be here. Why did you choose to open the novel with that classic Femme Fatale asking for help? Speaker 2: 00:43 I just couldn't resist it. It just been done so many times and so classically, and it's kind of what we remember about the beginning of, of those nor movies and novels from, you know, the authorities on. And uh, I, I couldn't let it go. And My, my goal in the book was to kind of start with the past, the Knorr trope, if you will, of that Pi sitting in his office. And, and move him swiftly into the, into the present. Speaker 1: 01:05 Now that you're a private investigator, Roland Ford, is he the last good guy of the title? Speaker 2: 01:10 Yeah, I think so. That's a little bit about him. 38 years old when the series opened two books ago. Um, as you said, former marine battle of Fallujah, one former sheriff's department, deputy big man, six, three, two 10, physically capable and posing. Um, uh, he's, he's not a ta. He's not a mean guy though. He's, he's kinda sarcastic and Kinda a little bit witty but not a wise cracker. Uh, he's a good hearted fellow. I think mainly, you know, he works hard on behalf of his clients and he kind of specializes in locating missing persons and he is empathetic with anyone who has his losing has lost someone, uh, important to them. Speaker 1: 01:48 Now your two previous role in Ford novels had to do with the aftermath of the u s war on terror overseas. This book is about home grown perversions and terror plots. Why that switch? Speaker 2: 02:01 It just seems to be so around us right now. You know, when I was hatching that book a year ago, roughly, it was around the time of Charlottesville and in that whole nasty white supremacist stuff rising, it's raising its ugly head again. And then the, the beginnings of the me too movement and, and, and the long histories of, of so many women and girls sometimes being, uh, you know, sexually abused. And so when you, when you hear about things like that so much, you react to it, you want to, you want to make it a part of your, of your book, those things woven together. And some other things are, are kind of the fabric upon which the story is painted, if you will. Speaker 1: 02:40 Right. How much research did you have to do into the world of hate groups for this novel? Speaker 2: 02:46 You know, I'm less than you might think. I've been, um, studying if you will hate groups for my whole adult life and I've written about them before. Um, I've written about a lot of different things, but that's one of the, one of the kind of evils that has always, uh, intrigued me because a, it's interesting stuff. And now, you know, I mean, none of the hate groups that I've, uh, come to know or, or, or read about or an interview are, are shy. You know, they want publicity, they like to be in the limelight and that's why they do these things often. So it's not hard to find these people, especially in the age of the Internet. There's bunches of 'em, you know, California has more white racist, you know, uh, supremacist groups more than any other state in the union. And yet we are, we're the liberal bastion. Right. Well not quiet. Speaker 1: 03:31 I know that you always like to sort of weave a message into the thrillers that you write. And I'm wondering if this book is in some way meant to be a warning, sort of maybe like a wake up call that these groups are a growing danger. Speaker 2: 03:46 Well, I guess, yeah, again, I think that the, the, those groups are like, like everybody these days is so, so willing to, to sacrifice their privacy and their anonymity. They want fame. They want notice. So in a book like the room of white fire, you know, I was kind of saying we should take a hard look at enhanced interrogation and if that's a moral or not in this book, I'm throwing these supremacists, these violent bigots out there. And I think people, the readers will have no problem at all judging for themselves that the, these are, these are bad people and the less we tolerate them, the better. Speaker 1: 04:21 And of course without giving too much away, there's a nightmarish element to what these people are planning. [inaudible] yeah, that was a scary one. That's a scary one. I think it's, it's kind of a little bit plausible even I think you could do it, so I don't even want to go there. Okay, good for San Diego is one of the delights of your novels are all the locales that we travel to and we know them all. Can you give us an idea of where this novel takes us? Speaker 2: 04:46 Yeah. Geographically just kind of on the map. Yeah. Well, let's see. Starts in Fallbrook on main street in Fallbrook, which there is one of, uh, and I, I shop there and Roland's office is there in Main Street America, uh, Fallbrook in this case. And then a move swiftly to, uh, private and upscale private high school, uh, Academy, uh, in Carlsbad, not based on a real one. Uh, and move swiftly from there to a, a kind of a teen, a nightclub in Oceanside. Um, I've been to a few and then vista and then this one I put notion side and then, and then again, uh, quickly out to the desert, uh, to uh, um, a mysterious, uh, date palm compound, uh, where Roland is confronted with some very mysterious activities and, and he just, he gets beaten to within an inch of his life for going out there and asking a few simple questions. So, um, it goes all over the place and then back to a Rancho Santa Fe and, and, and it kind of reaches its, its, its, its final extravagant Speaker 1: 05:43 conclusion in a in ocean side. Now the last good guy is the third book. In your role in Ford series, do you have an overall storyline figured out for the entire series or do you have an odd story arc for Roland Ford? No, Speaker 2: 05:58 neither. Um, and, and so every time I sit down to write the next one, I feel like I'm kind of reinventing the wheel in a way. I know I'm gonna, I'm gonna write about Roland, you know, and I, I intend and hope to write about Roland more and often, you know. Um, but as far as having things hatched out ahead of time with any kind of accuracy, I, I don't, Speaker 1: 06:17 yeah. So each book is a new experience for you as well as everybody else. Are you already working on your next [inaudible]? Speaker 2: 06:24 Yeah, I am. I'm, I'm, I'm finishing it up and it'll be out, uh, hopefully a this time next year. Wow. Speaker 1: 06:30 Okay. T Jefferson Parker will be speaking about his book, the last good guy tonight at Warwick's in La Jolla and he'll be featured at the San Diego Festival of books this weekend at liberty station. Always. So good to see you. Thank you for coming in. Oh, thank you. Back at you.

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New York Times bestselling author and Fallbrook resident, T. Jefferson Parker, joined Midday Edition to discuss his latest book, "The Last Good Guy."
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