"A starkly powerful tale of parents desperate for the children they can never protect from a boundlessly treacherous world." 
    Kirkus Reviews 

 "High-octane wind-up...Swiftly readable." 
    Publisher's Weekly 

 "In Eve Diamond, Hamilton gives us the Pavlovian intensity of a reporter in pursuit of a hot story, unstoppable as any addict in search of a fix. She also gets LA exactly right. Eve's perspective is both worldly and nicely spiked with social outrage. Sexy and exciting." 
    Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander 

"Nobody can do multicultural Los Angeles better than Denise Hamilton...The strengths of this series are Eve's intimate knowledge of Los Angeles and its ethnic neighborhoods, her addiction to the adrenalin rush she gets from covering a juicy story and the shameful social conditions she uncovers in the course of her investigations." 
    Denver Post 

 "While tracking a story at Los Angeles Airport, reporter Eve Diamond gets caught in a crossfire that leaves three people dead. Afterwards, a sick toddler whose guardian was killed in the shooting is whisked away by immigration agents, prompting Eve to investigate the little girl's role in the crime. In her search for clues to the child's identity, Eve explores some of the city's most luxurious restaurants and some of its sleaziest haunts." 
    New York Daily News 

 "Last Lullaby is a seductive tale that lures the reader into a post-millennial Los Angeles where only the toughest and savviest need apply. Luckily, Eve Diamond is more than up to the job. Sharp, smart and powerful stuff." 
    Laura Lippman, author of Every Secret Thing 

 "Unforgettable L.A. Times reporter Eve Diamond is back in Last Lullaby, bringing 21st century L.A. to life in another vivid, exotic, multicultural urban crime novel, full of suspense and mystery. The steamy sights, sounds, and aromas are not of Philip Marlowe's L.A., but the old detective would surely have approved of Eve Diamond's style in her relentless quest for justice on those ever mean streets." 
    Joseph Wambaugh, author of The Onion Field and Fire Lover 


"Eve Diamond is a romantic whose job as a Los Angeles Times reporter requires her to be a cynic. This conflict gives ex-Times reporter Denise Hamilton's third Diamond mystery novel, Last Lullaby, much of its interest and unpredictability. Eve wants to love and trust people who, more often than not, disappoint her. Her cynical part is the more reliable guide through Southern California's urban dangers - but that's not the part she likes. 

An old boyfriend shows up at Eve's Silver Lake home while she's investigating a shootout that left three dead at Los Angeles International Airport, two Russian gangsters and an Asian woman, whose 2-year-old daughter has been hustled into federal custody. Surely Tim Water's appearance, six years after their breakup, is a coincidence. Memories of trying to "live a passion so large and cataclysmic, it threatened to engulf and destroy me" engulf her, though she's still involved with Silvio Aguilar, her lover in the last novel, Sugar Skull

Why not fall in love with Tim again? For that matter, why shouldn't Eve trust the human rights attorney who wants to keep the toddler from being deported? Why shouldn't she warm to a Cambodian woman, blind since witnessing Pol Pot's atrocities, who runs an adoption agency in Long Beach? Why should she be so wary around the U.S. Customs official she was interviewing at LAX when the bullets started flying? He seems to tell nothing but sober truths: The little girl wasn't the dead woman's daughter; having already crossed the Pacific several times, she was probably being used as camouflage by drug smugglers. 

In each case, the hard-boiled reporter in Eve warns the romantic not to get in too deep. Yet the little girl's plight touches her in a way she previously couldn't have imagined. She has been so driven as a career woman that she ruled out having pets, much less kids. But everyone else seems to care less for the sickly, stateless child, Serey Rath, than for other agendas. Besides, after the unsettling encounter with Tim, Eve has unprotected sex with Silvio and finds herself pregnant. 

So she sets out to breach the wall of government secrecy and find the girl, and discovers that other people, ruthless men with guns, want to locate the toddler first. Eve's philosophical reflections and romantic entanglements have to squeeze into the rare moments when she isn't running for her life. Attractive, quick-witted and fast-talking - Hamilton is at her best showing how a good reporter can worm facts out of sources that they never planned to reveal - Eve is also limited. She has no gun, no expertise in the martial arts. Even her cynicism isn't infallible. When she makes mistakes, the consequences are dire. 

Another of Hamilton's strengths is her grasp of the Southland's shifting ethnic landscape.Last Lullaby leads us through seedy Chinatown hotels, a trendy "Asian fusion" restaurant, a backyard barbecue for Silvio's abuelita (grandmother) and a cyber-cafe that might as well be an opium den, so oblivious are its denizens to the outside world. 

It's a letdown when, after much post-Sept. 11 posturing, the real issues prove to be nothing more than addiction and greed - but letdowns seem to be a third Hamilton stock in trade. In a world of bogus heroes, the only person Eve can rely on, except maybe for Silvio, is an undocumented Guatemalan maid. 

Right down to the car chase, kidnapping, explosion and arson fire at the end, this is formula stuff, but it's a cut above the usual. This far into the series, Hamilton plots swiftly and knows her way around Eve's complex psyche. Her minor characters have some of Robert ("The Horse Latitudes") Ferrigno's over-the-top weirdness, but, as with Ferrigno, good dialogue redeems them. 

Hamilton's narrative prose can recall potboilers past. ("Something smoldered at the core of him that had barely begun to kindle when events outside our control had brought the romance to a screeching halt.") But it can also display so much freshness and sass ("I climbed up spongy wooden stairs that creaked under my weight as the termites held hands and moaned.") that comparisons with Raymond Chandler aren't too far out of line." 
    Michael Harris, Los Angeles Times 


"Denise Hamilton, a Los Angeles-based reporter turned novelist, is one of the brightest new talents to enter crime fiction over the last few years. With her third book, Last Lullaby, she once again confirms that promise with a gripping, action-packed work that ought to bring her books to a much wider audience. 

After two fascinating explorations of L.A.'s ethnic subcultures, this time Hamilton has produced a more conventionally directed mystery that is focused on an intense story about child abductions and the underground market for overseas adoptions. 

As with the author's first two novels, Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond pursues the investigation and her own conflicted emotions about motherhood, as well as her concern for a lost child, drawing her deep into a dangerous situation. 

Diamond is one of the best characters in a currently ongoing series. She is sympathetic and believable, and generally acts with intelligence and reason, qualities unfortunately rare in the modern mystery. She also has the right mix of street smarts, sass and vulnerability to draw the reader's interest and concern." 
    David Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times 

"Reporter Eve Diamond's latest assignment for the Los Angeles Times will practically write itself: Shadow a U.S. Customs agent to show readers how passengers are screened at the airport. 

Eve and the agent are watching an incoming flight from Beijing when a shooting erupts, leaving three dead. A sickly toddler from the flight is left behind, her supposed father having disappeared. 

Eve feeds details to other reporters as witness to the event, as she wades through the miasma of FBI, INS, police and private security. A mixture of compassion and curiosity about the little girl grows, especially when the child is quickly hidden by INS agents. Who is this obviously sick child, who's being sought by a pair of killers and a high-profile adoption lawyer who sees her as a "poster child for political asylum." Hamilton keeps the plot twists churning, giving her stories a breathless energy. 

Eve's search takes the reporter to a variety of L.A.'s multicultural neighborhoods, from run-down communities to upscale restaurants to an all-night cyber cafe. 

In her third novel, author Denise Hamilton, a former Times reporter herself, pulls together a well-plotted, unique mystery that cuts a wide swath through Southern California's melting-pot landscape. Hamilton has based each of her three novels on the idiosyncrasies of L.A. That approach works as well here as it did in her debut, the Edgar-nominated Jasmine Trade. In Last Lullaby's city, an apartment building's residents can reflect "the saga of twenty-first-century immigration." Despite the urban sprawl, L.A. can be a small town where the line between rich and poor sometimes is invisible. 

Eve's profession gives her a believable reason to ask hard questions and snoop in uncomfortable situations. But too often the author goes over the top to involve her in the action, especially when the reporter is at the center of one too many firestorms. Her journalistic ethics are not exactly pristine, but her tenacity and appealing personality make her an engrossing sleuth. Her private life is well integrated into the story, especially her involvement with the handsome scion of a Mexican music promotion dynasty. However, the reappearance of an old boyfriend, who practically slithers across the page, is a gimmick that doesn't work. 

But Hamilton makes spending time with Eve worthwhile by infusing in her humanity, vulnerability and strength." 
    Oline Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) 

"Denise Hamilton has followed up on The Jasmine Trade (2001), which is about Asian-American adolescents, with Last Lullaby, another dense tale featuring Eve Diamond, metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Hamilton's specialty is immigrant Los Angeles, where people traffic in human lives. This time things begin at the airport, where three people are killed and a 2-year-old child disappears while Diamond is on hand to observe U. S. Customs agent William Maxwell at work, for a feature on post-Sept. 11 passenger screening. Following up on the child's story, Diamond meets resistance from close-lipped Customs and INS agents anxious to deport the infant, crosses paths with illegals struggling to make it at menial jobs in dank hotels, and reports on a Customs agent who burned to death in her car just before a planned court appearance. 

Diamond's inquiries lead her to a cyberclub where people spend their days and nights in front of computer screens in perpetual cyber-warfare. She learns that the missing child is likely Cambodian, chances on a couple who think they will soon adopt the toddler, and reports on the efforts of an overzealous immigration lawyer. Meantime, her private life is in increasing shambles: An ex-lover suddenly appears on her back porch; in reaction, Diamond runs to the embrace of a lawyer, and pregnancy adds to her worries. 

The whirl and frenzy of these plot-strands make for a harried, varied, engrossing adventure. Hamilton and Diamond have their hearts in the right place: The stories swoop across class lines, carrying Diamond into the grungiest neighborhoods of L.A., revealing the traffic in children and drugs that makes for victims who don't find their way into the newspaper headlines. The brutality that surrounds the detection feels convincing; better still are the insistent reminders of how reporters move from one hint to the next while investigating a story. Hamilton does a beautiful job of describing L.A.'s neighborhoods and unraveling its secrets. Too often she writes mushily, though, underlining morality with thick sentimentality, overdrawn portraits and a bit too much attention to reporter Diamond's sensibilities and hypersensitive lovers. But Hamilton has staked out a fertile territory in her stories of lost children used as couriers and objects to buy and sell, in a city indifferent to its own corruption." 
    Paul Skenazy, Washington Post 

"This marks a terrific return for journalist Eve Diamond, who made her debut in Hamilton'sThe Jasmine Trade. In the opening chapter of this book, Diamond has true journalistic detachment. She's on a routine story at LAX with the post-9/11 U.S. Customs team. She's watching passengers deplane, wondering if there's a drug merchant or a terrorist in those tired lines, when all hell breaks loose. 

With bullets still flying, Eve hits the floor hunting for a good lead. She spots a dead woman who was carrying a baby. There are two more dead and, when the dust settles, two men captured. The dead men are Russian mobsters, the dead woman was a drug mule and the captured "killers" are FBI undercover agents. 

The baby is an unnamed, unclaimed bit of collateral damage: a tired, sick toddler with a fake Japanese passport and a one-way ticket to somewhere else -- just as soon as the feds get through using her as bait to catch the rest of the drug smugglers. 

Diamond thinks that this isn't quite right, and sets out to find out more about the child, which leads her into danger. This is a first-rate plot with wonderful characters and excellent writing. This is Hamilton's third novel, and she's definitely a writer on the rise." 
    Margaret Cannon, Toronto Globe and Mail