Jameson Parker, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-31024-0

Parker, star of the 1980s TV series Simon and Simon, was shot by a crazed neighbor in Los Angeles. Although Parker recovered physically from his injuries, the incident left him psychologically crippled, prompting him and his wife, Darlene, to leave Hollywood and run a cattle and horse ranch in the California hills. The change was positive, but Parker found it difficult to return to acting and Los Angeles. He remained haunted by the memories of being shot and suffered bouts of severe depression; he even contemplated suicide. He is blunt and direct as he describes his feelings: "I am walking down the hall to shower before dinner when the panic hits me more suddenly, more unexpectedly, than a bullet. Panic is not fear. It is not an urge to run to or from anything. It is not anything external that I can deal with. It is all-consuming, blinding, maddening." Parker focuses his book primarily on his life as a rancher—how he learns all the necessary aspects of running a ranch from nursing sick animals to taming a calf and putting animals to sleep. While the writing is good overall, Parker tends to rely on quoted conversation in the early chapters. Readers interested in the rugged life of a ranch hand will find this appealing, but whether a larger audience will remember Parker as an actor and want to read about his "demons" is dubious. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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