1968, Laguna Beach, Orange County, California. The hippies and the cults come flocking to the sun and the sea in A Thousand Steps.
Fourteen-year-old Matt’s home life is chaotic. His father has left the family for a new job and woman in a faraway state. His mother’s hours are reduced at her job as a waitress causing their rent to be late. She now smells perpetually of marijuana, or maybe hashish. And now his eighteen-year-old sister, Jazz, hasn’t been home for two days. Matt decides to look for Jazz in the weird counterculture world of drugs and new age religion.
A Thousand Steps has the most realistic depiction of the sixties that I have ever read in a contemporary novel. The author obviously knows the time and location well. According to the acknowledgements, he lived there twenty years.
I enjoyed my time with Matt. He seemed genuine. The mystery was complicated but not difficult to unravel.
If you feel like entering, or returning to, a completely different America, don’t miss A Thousand Steps. 4 stars!
Thanks to Forge Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.