A Thousand Steps. A Mini Review.

A Thousand Steps

By T. Jefferson Parker

Rating: 3.5/5 Stairs

Which starts like this:

Laguna Beach

June 1968

New morning on a waking city and a heaving dark sea. And on a boy, Matt Anthony, pedaling his bicycle up Pacific Coast Highway.

His fishing rod, strapped to the rack behind him, whips and wobbles in the air. A tackle box rattles and bounces beside it. He’s pedaling hard for Thalia Street, where the cop cars and a fire engine and an ambulance are clustered, lights flashing.

A Thousand Steps

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book – in all honestly I wanted to read it just because of the cover! A Thousand Steps is a merger of a mystery and a coming of age story, set in California in the late 1960s. The book follows 16-year-old Matt, a responsible kid with a bike and a paper route. Matt is just getting by in life, living with his hippie (caring but somewhat unreliable) mom and his older sister Jazz – who didn’t come home last night.

Matt knows in his gut that something bad has happened to his sister, but no one is really taking his concerns seriously. Matt takes matters into his own hands and begins investigating on his own.

The setting of this book is awesome – you drop right into the counterculture of the 1960s. Parker does an excellent job setting the scene and immersing you into this era. The mystery initially pulled me in, but the pacing for a mystery was on the slow side – I think because this book isn’t just a mystery, but also has a coming-of-age story woven throughout.

I know you are asking yourself “should I read this book?” If you are looking for a 1960s historical fiction or a coming of age novel, I think this book will resonate with you. If you’re in it more for the mystery, the pace is probably too slow and ultimately the mystery ends up being a bit convoluted.

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