LAST LULLABY: An Eve Diamond Novel

Denise Hamilton, Author . Scribner $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7432-4540-1

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 café 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. (Apr. 13)

Forecast: Eve needs to be better focused as a personality before she can hope to emulate the success of Sarah Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, on whom she appears to be modeled.

Reviewed on: 02/09/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 512 pages - 978-1-58724-745-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-7434-8222-6
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-7432-5833-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-4516-1333-9
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