A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker is set in Laguna Beach, California in 1968 and Matt Anthony, the main character, lives and visits other real and iconic locations in southern California. When Matt’s sister Jazz goes missing, and the police have prioritized drug busts over finding her, he takes it upon himself to look all over the city for her – in places such as Mystic Arts World, Top of the World, and of course, the Thousand Steps Beach.
Top of the World Neighborhood
One of the first locations Matt looks for Jazz after she goes missing is the Top of the World. The neighborhood is full of the elite with their fancy houses – and Matt heard that Jazz went to one of the parties in Top of the World shortly before she disappeared.
At one point in the story, Matt’s mom Julie gets a new job and moves her and Matt to Dodge City. The housing is included with her new tomato canning job, but Dodge City is full of some of the biggest and hardest drug users in Laguna Beach.
Mystic Arts World
Before Jazz vanished, she worked part time at Mystic Arts World, delivering packages to their customers. In a grab for money and a way to live independently from his mother, Matt agrees to also run packages such as copies of The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Pacific Coast Highway
In Matt’s quest to find Jazz, he borrows her car and drives all around the places she’s been to around the city on the Pacific Coast Highway. He also drives the highway on the way to dates, adventures, and to the iconic Thousand Steps Beach.
Thousand Steps Beach
And of course, Matt visits the Thousand Steps Beach. The can be accessed by walking down 218 steps (not actually a thousand). The steps are also a regular location for photographers to take photos of models, and it’s from one of the regular models (who Matt befriends) that Matt learns Jazz had modeled there recently.
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