Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pg. 69: Denise Hamilton's "Prisoner of Memory"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Denise Hamilton's Prisoner of Memory.

About the book, from the author's website:
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 the 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 that illuminates 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 was shot to death execution style. The son of a Russian emigre 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 shocking 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 whose career was derailed by his affair with a female KGB 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 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.
Among the praise for the novel:
"Entertaining, well-researched... Hamilton richly evokes seething, polyglot LA."
Publishers Weekly

"Hamilton's post-millenial LA is a defiantly polyglot megalopolis ... with many startling moments of clarity.... Hamilton, whose mystery novels, like Chandler's, capture the strange allure of a city in which everything is always in flux..." is "offering a real time feed from a place 'so new that we can't even imagine what it's becoming'... the author revels in the smells, sounds, tastes and texture of Southern California."
Los Angeles Times

"The Eve Diamond series is the best thing to hit the L.A. crime novel scene since Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch."
—David Montgomery, Mystery Ink

"The most gripping and far-reaching of Denise Hamilton's celebrated Eve Diamond novels yet. Written with an impressive narrative flair for character, setting, and pace, the book is both a compelling page-turner and a deeply realized exploration of the shattering power of personal memory and public history."
—Michael Andre Bernstein, author of Conspirators

"In the best tradition of the genre (as practiced by Raymond Chandler on forward), Hamilton uses the mystery novel to explore important social issues and themes in society."
The Boston Globe
Read an excerpt from Prisoner of Memory and learn more about Denise Hamilton and her books at her website.

All five of Hamilton's Eve Diamond novels were Los Angeles Times bestsellers: Prisoner of Memory, which was a summer reading recommendation on's Day to Day and a finalist for Best Mystery by the Southern California Booksellers Association; Savage Garden, a 2005 finalist for Best Mystery by the Southern California Booksellers Association; Last Lullaby, a USA Today Summer Reading Pick and a Best Mystery nominee for the Southern California Booksellers Association; Sugar Skull; and The Jasmine Trade, a finalist for the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Willa awards. Her Eve Diamond novels have been optioned for film.

She is also the author of the short story "At the Drop of A Hat" in Thriller, an anthology edited by James Patterson, and a contributor to and the editor of Los Angeles Noir. Her journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wired, Cosmopolitan, Der Spiegel, and the New York Times.

The Page 69 Test: Prisoner of Memory.

--Marshal Zeringue