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.
I was sitting at the city desk, halfway through my first cup of cafeteria coffee, when I saw him. His jacket was flapping, his arms flailing, as he sprinted along the computer terminals and zigzagged past three-foot piles of newspapers, eyes trained on the prize -- a big sign that said METRO, under which I sat, scanning the wires on a slow Saturday morning.
You might think that with all those deadline pressures, newsrooms would be kinetic places where people leapt and darted and yelled all day long. Maybe they do at other places, but here at the Los Angeles Times, the only place I've ever worked, such displays are considered a mark of poor breeding.
I'd never seen anyone run in the newsroom and wasn't sure what to make of it. But up he came, skidding to a stop before me, white bubbles foaming at the corners of his mouth. He wore a tweed cap, which he took off and ran along his forehead to swab up the sweat pearling at his hairline. Then he placed the cap over his...
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A classic story of good and evil, sacrifice and sin -- a gripping page-turner that illuminates the darkest corridors of the human mind. A stunning tour de force.
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