"...the lust, greed and turmoil are exhilarating. ...so absorbing that you don't want to stop reading. So, better start now."
—Eugen Weber, Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 15, 2003
"A passionate new puzzle...The tenacious Eve discovers that even the most twisted and distant paths can converge, that very little separates the privileged from the desperate and that it's all too easy to step over the line of journalistic ethics, become part of the story and maybe wind up dead."
"Journalist Hamilton...has expertly crafted a tale of lust, greed, murder, and an appetite for power that transcends the deepest of racial, cultural, and class divides in the City of Angels...Full of great local color, this is recommended for most mystery collections."
—Susan Clifford Braun, Library Journal Starred Review
"Hamilton shows that she's every bit as ambitious in tackling big-city corruption as Sara Paretsky. ...few readers will be able to resist her V.J. Warshawski with a tape recorder and a California tan."
—Kirkus Reviews, Jan. 15, 2003
"A series of seemingly unrelated deaths quickly come together under the eye of Eve Diamond, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times...Diamond's journalistic instincts serve her well as she investigates three of the dead...and learns that blind passion can slither across socioeconomic boundaries. A romantic entanglement almost sends Diamond off track, but her persistence and zeal help her find justice and the kind of meaningful stories she wants to write. Hamilton...captures beautifully the go-here, go-there life of a suburban reporter on a big-city daily, and in Diamond she's created a sympathetic lead character, one who's a tad insecure, eager, and tentative at the same time, and always engaging in an untethered sort of way...Sugar Skull is a pleasing journey with a character who at times feels remarkably real."
—On Crime by Jim Fusilli, The Boston Globe, April 27, 2003
"This savvy follow-up to Edgar/Anthony nominee The Jasmine Trade ($6.99) confirms the talent that book promised and Hamilton's design to profile the ethnic communities of Los Angeles."
—Patricia Harrington, The Poisoned Pen
"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 ... 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, Amazon.com review
"A dazzling portrait of a city full of diversity. Rich with nuance and insight, this is compelling, illuminating crime writing at its best."