T. Jefferson Parker was born in Los Angeles and has lived all of his life in Southern California. Those who don’t call him Mr. Parker, call him Jeff. The “T” is silent because, in fact, it’s simply a letter of the alphabet. Jeff’s mom claimed the T would look better on the door of the President. Good thing for us he prefers writing novels to dabbling in politics. Jeff Parker was educated in public schools in Orange County, and took a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, in 1976. He was honored in 1992 as the Distinguished Alumnus.
His writing career began in 1978, as a cub reporter on the weekly newspaper, The Newport Ensign. After covering police, city hall and cultural stories for the Ensign, Parker moved on to the Daily Pilot newspaper, where he won three Orange County Press Club awards for his articles. All the while he was tucking away stories and information that he would use in his first book.
Parker’s first novel, Laguna Heat written on evenings and weekends while he worked as a journalist, was published to rave reviews and made into an HBO movie starring Harry Hamlin, Jason Robards and Rip Torn. The paperback made The New York Times Bestseller list in 1986.
Parker’s following novels—all dealing with crime, life and death in sunny Southern California—were published to rave reviews and appeared on many bestseller lists. His writing has been called “potent and irresistible” (L.A. Times) and “resonant, literate and powerful” (Kirkus). The New York Times wrote that “T. Jefferson Parker is a powerhouse writer.” Carolyn See called The Triggerman’s Dance “a masterpiece.” Where Serpents Lie and The Blue Hour appeared for five weeks on the L.A. Times bestseller list. Red Light and Silent Joe made number one on that list in May of 2000 and 2001, respectively and Silent Joe went on to win the Mystery Writers of America‘s Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller. Cold Pursuit was named Novel of the Year by the Southern California Booksellers Association. California Girl won Jeff his second Best Novel Edgar.
When not working on his books, Parker spends his time with his family, hiking, hunting and fishing, and haunting the public tennis courts. He enjoys diving, snorkeling, and travel. He escapes to a trailer in the desert in the spring and fall, to hike the country and not answer telephones.