A veteran mystery writer whose thrillers are set in Orange County and San Diego took the top fiction honors at the Southern California Booksellers Assn. annual awards Saturday night.
T. Jefferson Parker won for his 11th novel, "Cold Pursuit," the story of a San Diego homicide officer. Three years ago, Parker and his family moved to Fallbrook in northern San Diego County. Parker is known for bestselling books such as "Laguna Heat" and "Red Light," both of which were set in Orange County. Parker formerly worked as a reporter for the Daily Pilot in Costa Mesa.
Parker's win in the fiction category confirms his status as a leading Southern California mystery writer in a standout field that has included Robert Crais and former Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Connelly.
"In the mystery genre, there's more and more buzz about them, and more and more are hitting the national bestsellers list and doing really well," said Jennifer Bigelow, executive director of the association.
The association, which is a trade organization of independent booksellers, honors books that "reflect a Southern California experience or culture."
In the nonfiction category, the winner was critic Carolyn See for "Making a Literary Life," a book about how to live the life of a writer. See also is a novelist and adjunct professor of English at UCLA. Former children's book editor Kathleen Krull won the children's book award for "Harvesting Hope," a biography of Cesar Chavez.
Fiction finalists were Aimee Lu for "Flash House"; Rochelle Krich for "Blues in the Night"; Barbara Serrenella for "Unpaid Dues"; and Lisa See for "Dragon Bones."
Nonfiction finalists were Shirley Kerins for "Celebrations of Herbs"; Harry W. Crosby for "Gateway to Alta California"; Leonard Mlodinow for "Feynman's Rainbow" and Adeline Yen Mah for "Thousand Pieces of Gold."
Children's book finalists were Sid Fleischman for "Disappearing Act"; Marla Frazee for "Mrs. Biddlebox"; Laura Rader for "Tea for Me, Tea for You"; and Joe Cepeda for "The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman."