cover image Full Measure

Full Measure

T. Jefferson Parker. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-05200-1

Edgar-winner Parker (Laguna Heat) takes a break from writing bestselling crime novels for this standalone about an Afghanistan veteran who comes home to California and discovers that the town where he grew up is its own kind of war zone. Returning to Fallbrook, Calif., Patrick Norris finds that his family’s avocado farm is in danger of going under thanks to recent canyon fire that destroyed 10 acres. This comes at a bad time for Patrick, who is attempting to extricate himself from his family’s business and begin his own fly-fishing charter company. Patrick also has to deal with his older brother, Ted, a lifelong screw-up who, after being mugged by a Mexican, buys a glock and flirts with joining a local racist gang, the Rogue Wolves. Add a love interest for Patrick; a Homeland Security agent trying to prove that the fire was a terrorist act started by local Muslims; some Marine buddies having difficulties adjusting to civilian life; a mayor with too much on her plate; and an impending storm, and the stage is set for a chaotic climax. Unfortunately, this novel feels simultaneously underdramatized and overdetermined. Although the characters are well developed, there is a pat quality to the writing that undermines the emotional investment in Patrick’s return to civilian life. (Oct.)