"Hamilton's fictional counterpart, L.A. Times reporter Eve Diamond (The Jasmine Trade, etc.), investigates another murder in California's melting pot. When unpredictable actress Catarina Velosi fails to show up for her play's premiere, Eve and her boyfriend, Silvio Aguilar, are dispatched to find her. Bloodstains in Catarina's Echo Park apartment lead Eve to suspect foul play-and the police to suspect Silvio. Eve's got an unwelcome sidekick in Felice Morgan, a slick young African-American reporter with hot credentials. Is Felice another Jayson Blair? Is Silvio tied to the murder? Eve and Felice pursue the case, interviewing Catarina's old drama teacher, the alcoholic wife of the playwright, an assemblyman's flirtatious assistant, a drug-dealing neighbor and a Hollywood mogul, among others. Like Raymond Chandler, Hamilton describes California in gritty, lyrical prose; like Sue Grafton, she shows a tough-skinned, tenderhearted heroine breaking a few rules, if not a few bones. Hamilton humanizes Eve through her personal ties to the murder and her professional doubts about Felice; she enriches the novel's atmosphere with music (the title comes from a song playing ominously in Catarina's apartment) and coastal landscapes. Hamilton's social insights about race and success may not always feel profound, but her compassion for her characters and knowledge of their worlds make her novel compelling reading."
"Having followed Eve Diamond's career from the start, I've seen her assignments become more intricate and dangerous, and her intuitive detective work even more sharply honed. Eve is this generation's Brenda Starr, and Denise Hamilton is a master of the mystery world."
—Diane Leslie, bestselling author of Fleur de Lys's Life of Crime
"Like her creator Denise Hamilton, Eve Diamond is smart and stylish, knows the streets of Los Angeles from the barrio to Beverly Hills, and makes you care about the characters whose paths she crosses. Savage Garden is an exotic tale of murder and suspense, and Hamilton's distinctive voice brings it vividly to life."
—Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Entombed
"L.A. is as much a character as any person in Savage Garden...Hamilton, a former Times reporter herself, delivers an authentic look at the newsroom culture and journalism ethics. Eve's profession gives her a believable reason to ask hard questions and snoop in uncomfortable situations. Hamilton makes Eve a complicated, but realistic character by injecting a sense of humanity, vulnerability and strength into this reporter. The author also is careful not to delve into a cliched woman-in-jeopardy plot....Hamilton expertly plumbs the themes of jealousy, class differences and identity in Savage Garden."
—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Over her first three books, the gifted Denise Hamilton earned a reputation as one of the brightest new stars in the mystery world. Her series featuring L.A. Times reporter Eve Diamond has featured some of the best writing the genre has seen.
Her latest, Savage Garden (Scribner, $22), continues that trend. The plot is another rich one for Hamilton, this time featuring Eve participating in the hunt for an actress missing on the eve of her triumphant return to the stage.
In her pursuit of the story, Eve is paired with an upstart reporter recently hired as part of the newspaper's affirmative action program. Eve is wary of the aggressive rookie's motives and ethics, especially when she steals a scoop out from under Eve.
With its combination of sharp characters, crisp prose and hot-button topics such as race and journalistic ethics, Savage Garden rises above the level of an ordinary detective novel to become a vibrant, powerful and relevant story."
—Chicago Sun Times
"In Edgar Award nominee Hamilton's (Last Lullaby) fourth Eve Diamond mystery, the Latina lead in a hit play is murdered, and the Los Angeles Times journalist grabs the story. However, Eve's boss is wary of her objectivity since the playwright and prime suspect is her lover's best friend. In addition, Eve has been tapped to mentor a hot new hire who seems bent on scooping Eve. With the newbie in tow, she traverses the freeways, from the barrios of East L.A. to the mansions of Malibu, in search of the young actress's story. Volatile personalities who might well have killed the leading lady emerge at every turn. Eve's relentless quest for justice and a great headline lead her into dark and dangerous territory, challenging her toughness, savvy, and personal relationships. Offering a noirish, 21st-century spin on Philip Marlowe's Los Angeles, Hamilton races the reader through its multicultural mean streets with a compelling plot, great location descriptions, and a central character who is edgy, smart, and credible. Highly recommended for most mystery collections. Hamilton lives in Los Angeles."