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Critically acclaimed author Denise Hamilton weaves an engrossing story of teenage friendship and adult betrayal, featuring a high-powered crisis consultant who gets swept up in murder and scandal involving a wealthy political family. Maggie Silver is solidly middle class, with a mortgage to pay and an ill mother to support. She is doing her best to scramble up the ladder at an elite PR firm in Southern California whose clients include movie stars and famous athletes. Now, Maggie tackles her toughest client yet: Senator Henry Paxton, a distinguished statesman who also happens to be the father of Anabelle, Maggie's estranged best friend from high school. Senator Paxton's young female aide has been found murdered, and Maggie must run damage control to prevent the scandal from growing. Thrown back into the Paxtons' glamorous world, Maggie is unexpectedly flooded with memories from the stormy years in high school when her friendship with Anabelle was dramatically severed after a tragedy that neither of them has been able to forget. As Maggie gets further embroiled in the lives of the Paxtons, she realizes that the ties of her old friendship are stronger than she thinks. Riveting and suspense-filled, Damage Control examines our craving for celebrity and spectacle, and how far the bonds of friendship can stretch before they break forever.
Everything was set. Seventeen-year-old Marina Lu had even ordered custom-made gowns for the ten bridesmaids who, in several months' time, would have preceded her down the aisle at her storybook wedding. There isn't going to be a wedding. Marina lies dead, alone in her shiny status car in a suburban shopping center parking lot, her two-carat diamond engagement ring refracting another abruptly shattered Los Angeles dream. Was her death merely a carjacking gone bad? Or is there more to the story? Marina's murder chillingly introduces Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond to a subculture of "parachute kids," the rich Asian teens who are left to their own devices in California while their parents live and work in Hong Kong. Seeking American education and political stability for their children, the affluent parents often leave only an elderly housekeeper in charge of their vulnerable offspring. What was Marina's story? Why was she, at such a young age, marrying twenty-four-year-old Michael Ho? Why is Marina's father, banker Reginald Lu, so reluctant to provide information? As Eve delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding Marina's life and death, she stumbles upon a troubled world of unmoored youth and parental neglect. But Marina, in many ways, would seem to have been among the fortunate. She had money and her parents had power. Eve soon discovers a dramatically more tragic subculture, where destitute young Asian immigrants live in virtual sexual slavery. The story of May-li and her journey from a poor farming home in Fujian, China, to a brothel in Los Angeles is one that Eve will fight to tell and will never forget. A moving, noir-accented crime novel that opens a rare window to an intriguing subject, The Jasmine Trade is a passionate and polished debut from an exciting new author.
Los Angeles 1949. A city of big dreams and dark shadows... Lily Kessler, a former stenographer and spy for the OSS, comes to Los Angeles to find her late fiancé's sister Kitty, an actress who is missing from her Hollywood boardinghouse. The next day, Kitty's body is found in a ravine below the Hollywood sign. Unimpressed by the local police, Lily investigates on her own. As she delves into Kitty's life, she encounters fiercely competitive starlets, gangsters, an eccentric special-effects genius, exotic denizens of Hollywood's nightclubs, and a homicide detective who might distract her from her quest for justice. But the landscape in L.A. can shift kaleidoscopically, and Lily begins to see how easily a young woman can lose her balance and fall prey to the alluring city's dangers.... With vibrant characters and unerring insight into the desires and dark impulses that can flare between men and women, The Last Embrace showcases Denise Hamilton at the height of her storytelling powers as she transports readers to a fascinating, transitional time in one of America's most beguiling cities.
From multiaward-nominated and national bestselling author Denise Hamilton comes an electrifying new Eve Diamond novel that takes the reader on an exhilarating, heart-stopping, yet poignant ride through the dark streets of L.A. Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond has spent the day at LAX, shadowing U.S. Customs Supervisor William Maxwell. He's got his eye on an incoming flight from Beijing via Seoul and Tokyo. The flight's packed with the usual mass of humanity, ranging from the elegant Asian woman in the raspberry silk pantsuit who emerges from first class carrying a tired toddler to the scruffy students who have spent the long flight in economy. Suddenly, shots ring out. Three people are dead, including two men who appear to be businessmen and the silk-clad woman. The man who was booked on the flight as the dead woman's husband is missing. And the sad little toddler is left behind. Who is this child? Her passport says she's Japanese, but she doesn't seem to understand the language. Was the dead woman really her mother? Why has the child made five transpacific flights in one year? And why does the INS whisk her immediately into hiding? Is this child a pawn in a larger scheme? Why would criminals care about this little girl? And why is Eve, too, in danger? Eve knows she must try to find the answers. Her search takes her into L.A.'s sleazy hotels, cybercafes, and into the upscale milieu of trendy restaurants and high-powered human-rights lawyers. Nothing is quite what it appears to be, and nobody seems to want Eve to find the child. Last Lullaby is a richly nuanced crime novel from a superbly gifted author who asks important questions and never settles for the superficial answer. Her powerful prose and passion for her native city shine through on every page.
Denise Hamilton, hailed by the Chicago Sun-Times as "one of the brightest new stars in the mystery world," delivers a riveting new novel in her critically acclaimed series featuring her uniquely appealing heroine -- sassy, street-smart Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond. Set in L.A.'s vibrant Russian immigrant community, where new money and raw power collide with hidden agendas left over from the Cold War, Prisoner of Memory confirms Hamilton's reputation as one of the most astute writers of engrossing, atmospheric crime fiction, illuminating the social realities of contemporary Los Angeles. While investigating the sighting of a mountain lion in L.A.'s Griffith Park, Eve comes across the body of a teenage boy who has been shot to death execution-style. The son of a Russian émigré scientist, the victim was an exemplary student with no ties to gangs or drugs. Was his murder a random act of violence, the result of a teenage love triangle, or the work of the Russian Mafia? Eve, also the child of Russian immigrants, feels an instant rapport with the boy's grief-stricken father, Sasha Lukin, a cultured old-world gentleman who she senses is not telling her all he knows about his son's murder. Forced to partner on the story with her newsroom rival, police reporter Josh Brandywine, whose interest in her turns disconcertingly personal, Eve uncovers connections between the victim's family and a fascinating, chameleon-like FBI agent and a brutal Russian mobster who warns Eve not to pry into the teenager's death. Complicating Eve's pursuit of the story is the arrival at her door of a young Russian man who claims to be her long-lost cousin. Is he truly a link to the family she thought she'd lost or an impostor sent by the Russian mob to spy on her? As the violence surrounding the Lukin family escalates to encompass Eve, and as she moves closer to unraveling the motives of a brilliant, vengeful killer, Prisoner of Memory races to a thrilling resolution that holds surprising personal revelations about Eve herself.
A new play by a rising Mexican playwright is premiering, and Eve and her lover, Silvio Aguilar, are there -- the writer is Silvio's friend from their barrio days. When the lead actress is a no-show, Eve quickly uncovers that Silvio has complicated past ties to the missing diva. But there is no time for hurt, betrayal, or suspicion -- not when there are signs of a struggle at the actress's bungalow. To make matters worse, an eager young reporter, whom Eve is mentoring, keeps insinuating herself into the case at every turn, crossing ethical lines that could bring Eve down with her. . . or get them both killed.
From the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Willa-nominated author Denise Hamilton comes SUGAR SKULL Acclaimed by award committees and critics for her groundbreaking The Jasmine Trade, Denise Hamilton returns with a penetrating new Eve Diamond crime novel sure to confirm her reputation as a rising star. Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond usually works out of the paper's San Gabriel Valley bureau, but she's taking a weekend shift downtown when a distraught Vincent Chevalier breaks through security and demands her help. His fifteen-year-old daughter, Isabel, is missing, and the cops won't go looking for her until forty-eight hours have passed. The man thinks he knows where she might be -- with some runaways in a dismal squat in East Hollywood. He wants Eve as his witness when he enters the squat and tries to bring Isabel home. Eve senses a possible story: Why would a privileged young girl from Pasadena spend time with the down-and-outs in East Hollywood? But there will be no interview with Isabel. Isabel is dead, her body wrapped in a dirty futon and abandoned in a derelict basement. Eve's questions have only begun. What brought the blond-haired teenager to such a tragic, early demise? Did a man named Finch, who's had past arrests for drugs, burglary, and theft, have something to do with Isabel's murder? What about her father? There's something unsettling about him. And what was Isabel's relationship with Paolo Langdon, her schoolmate and the son of a socialite hostess and a prominent politician? Even as Eve must fight against powerful forces that want her off the story, she finds herself emotionally drawn to the brooding scion of a Mexican music-promotion titan. It's dangerous to mix professional with personal, but Silvio Aguilar is hard to resist. And in his world, in the little sugar skull confections that commemorate the Mexican Day of the Dead, Eve may find some clue to a killer. Written with the authenticity and bold strokes that Denise Hamilton has made her own, Sugar Skull is much more than a triumphant crime novel -- it's a dazzling portrait of a city full of diversity. Rich with nuance and insight, this is compelling, illuminating crime writing at its best.
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