“Nobody can do multicultural Los Angeles better than Denise Hamilton.” —The Denver Post
Now, the Edgar Award–nominated author sends reporter Eve Diamond on a suspense-charged investigation of the deadly criminal element in the city as colorful and unpredictable as Eve herself.
Shadowing a customs official for a story, Eve is a witness when gunfire erupts at LAX. A beautiful Asian woman is killed, and her little girl is swept away by the INS. Eve suspects the toddler is being used by smugglers who trade in human lives. With the return of her ex-lover, Eve has everything to lose as she races to protect the child from ruthless armed men -- and may find herself caught in their sights.
Eve Diamond is an enterprising reporter for the Los Angeles Times (as her creator used to be) who has already starred in the well-received Sugar Skull (2003) and The Jasmine Trade (2001). Hamilton's latest again focuses on the ways in which polyglot Los Angeles relates to Asian evildoers, as she tells of a shootout at LAX in which a tiny, sick Asian girl constantly shuttled from one place to another mysteriously disappears. A wealthy lawyer seeking to adopt the child seems to be involved, the INS is keeping her incognito, some murderous thugs will do anything to find her and into the middle of all this comes Eve, suffering her own romantic hangups and a distinct ambivalence about the calls of motherhood. The L.A. details are sharp, from the trendy restaurant where Diamond meets lawyer Samson Brenner to the cyber caf full of addle-headed, game-obsessed kids where one of the suspects hangs his hat. But the high-octane windup, which features Eve wandering around on foot (in Los Angeles?) carrying the child before being badly beaten, nearly burned to death and double-crossed at least three times, is distinctly over the top. And her helpless romantic entanglements with old flame Tim Waters, now gone bad, and Mexican hunk Silvio make her less than the tough, edgy heroine she is supposed to be. The novel is swiftly readable, but it strains credibility too often to be a star entry.