A Thousand Steps Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A Thousand Steps is a gripping thriller, an incisive coming-of-age story, and a vivid portrait of turbulent time and place by three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times best-selling author T. Jefferson Parker.
Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.
Matt Antony is just trying get by.
Matt is 16, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother’s fighting in Nam...and his big sister, Jazz, has just gone missing. The cops figure she’s just another runaway hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn’t believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach.
All Matt really wants to do is get his driver’s license and ask out the girl he’s been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it’s up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don’t trust the hippies and the hippies don’t trust the cops, uncovering what’s really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast.
If it’s not already too late.
A Macmillan Audio production from Forge Books
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 38 minutes|
|Author||T. Jefferson Parker|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 11, 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,912 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#15 in Historical Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#59 in Coming of Age Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#110 in Historical Thrillers (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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In addition poor editing and fact-checking is rampant. Three quick examples:
White hippies in 1968 didn't wear dreadlocks and, in fact, had no idea what they were;
There was no draft lottery until 1971, but one of the characters has a draft number of 353;
Buddy Miles, the musician, never led his own band until late 1970 or '71, but here he is headlining on the stage of the "Love Fest".
Sadly, there are many many more which, while small, illustrate the many points on which this book fails.
This is a tough book to write for two reasons. The first reason is that Vietnam and the culture of 1968 is profoundly divisive, in some ways the principal source of our current cultural divisions. The Moody Blues sing of the ‘vintage wine’ from ’63 to ’69 and the Eagles lament that ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969’. David Halberstam tells a different story and so do all of those who now see the ‘sexual revolution’ as destructive, particularly to women. While the story is complex and not completely either/or (I had a commander in the Army who was fond of the Strawberry Alarm Clock) it is safe to say that the vast majority of the hippies ‘moved on’ and that the memories left in their wake contain a great deal of detritus whose negative effects continue today. You can shoot for ‘nuanced’ in your fiction, but here it’s tough and ultimately you have to choose sides, a decision that could alienate a significant portion of your potential audience.
The second reason why writing a book such as this is tough is that the plot is not just very linear (a boy searches door to door for his lost sister in a town covered with drug haze), but the stakes are high and, again, either/or. If he finds her and his brother comes home unscathed and his mom and dad can reconcile, at least to some degree, we verge on a world of lollipops and unicorns. If his brother is killed and his sister destroyed, his mom lost in a world of opium-coated hashish and his dad still MIA, we have Ellroy’s ‘tragic realism’ or worse. KING LEAR is the tragedy of a family as well as the tragedy of a country. Are we up for that when the central character is a 16 year-old?
I won’t reveal the ending, but I will say that the stakes result in solid suspense and that I personally liked TJP’s take on 1968. However, I worried throughout that I wouldn’t.
Bottom line: 5 stars, but not without some stress. In 1968 I was teaching English at West Point, seeing two of my friends returning in coffins. In 1969 I was at the University of Wisconsin, missing the Dow riots but there in time for the bombing of Sterling Hall. I am close to the ethos of A THOUSAND STEPS and not as detached as some readers will be. When I look at the book’s jacket art my heart sinks. Kudos to Jeff Parker for a courageous decision to write it.
Best book in years from TJP.
Keep this up. Like the old days seeing him in Laguna Beach. Maybe more San Diego background now.