Title: Sugar Skull: An Eve Diamond Novel
Publication Date: 2003
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by Author 0743245393 This hardcover book is square and tight. The boards and spine have no wear with pristine gilt. The pages and endpages are clean, with no markings or folds. The dustjacket is As New. Original Price is intact. Not ex-lib. No remainder mark. Signed by the Author and dated March 29, 2003. Also, the author has penned, "The memory of sweet discrete grains melting in my mouth. It was a sugar skull.". Bookseller Inventory # 002073
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.
Review: You can spot Denise Hamilton's journalistic background in the inquisitive, meticulous way she plumbs the economic and ethnic strata of Los Angeles, the setting of her second Eve Diamond mystery, Sugar Skull. As in her previous book, The Jasmine Trade, which dealt with Asian gangsters and undersupervised teens susceptible to criminal influence, Sugar Skull contrasts seemingly disparate, yet intersecting social realms as it illuminates a metropolis in transition.
"All over town, people were dying violently," observes L.A. Times reporter Diamond at this tale's start. In other words, it's a typical weekend in California's largest city, with most of the deceased barely earning a mention in print. But Isabel Chevalier is different. A 15-year-old prep-school student, she's taken to slumming with runaway street kids, so when she disappears suddenly, her worried father seeks Diamond's help. Too late: Isabel is found murdered in an abandoned building. Sniffing a good story, Diamond tracks down the homeless youths who knew Isabel best, including the feral but oddly magnetic Finch "Mad Dog" Marino and an abused girl called Scout, who revs up the reporter's maternal instincts. At the same time, Diamond has another scoop on the hook, involving the suspicious demise of a mayoral candidate's "super-socialite" wife, who--in hypocritical disregard of her hubby's "family values" platform--has been cavorting with another man. Hamilton's smoothly paced yarn sends Eve from a riverside transvestite camp to Latino nightclubs to the hyper-competitive arena of her newsroom, yet leaves her time (and breath) enough to tryst with a somber Hispanic music promoter amid L.A.'s Day of the Dead festivities. Although readers may cringe at this novel's trite portrayals of spin-mad politicians, Diamond's rough-cut charm and perspicacity, plus Hamilton's thoughtful focus on race and homelessness, make Sugar Skull a sweet read. --J. Kingston Pierce
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