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Savage Garden: A Novel (Eve Diamond Novels) Hardcover – April 26, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Eve Diamond Novels
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743261925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743261920
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,246,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the fourth Eve Diamond novel (Last Lullaby, 2004), the resourceful L.A. Times reporter's plans for an evening at the theater go awry before the curtain rises. The leading lady, the playwright's muse, is missing, and Eve's boyfriend, Silvio, the playwright's best friend, is asked to search for her. Eve tags along to get the story and later wishes she hadn't. The drama queen, who turns up at the bottom of a cliff, has left a trail of brokenhearted suspects that includes Silvio. While some of the elements here seem stock--a reformed gangbanger turned artiste, a bewitching diva, close-knit Latinos who call each other "homes"--Hamilton's tale is a nice update on the hard-boiled genre. Certain plot elements have a 1940s feel, yet her sensual, conflicted sleuth lives in a distinctly modern world of cell phones and BMWs. And a story line involving Eve's resentment at the fast-tracking of an African American reporter adds a topical twist while still evoking classic crime-novel themes of class and identity. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Denise Hamilton writes crime novels and is editor of Los Angeles Noir, an anthology of new writing that spent two months on bestseller lists, won the Edgar Award for "Best Short Story" and the Southern California Independent Booksellers' award for "Best Mystery of the Year."

Denise also edited Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics, with stories by Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, Chester Himes, Ross Macdonald, Margaret Millar and others.

Denise's new novel, Damage Control, will be published by Scribner on September 6, 2011 and has already received raves from Kirkus (In a novel that marries celebrity culture, surf noir and the bonds of friendship, Hamilton is at the top of her game) and James Ellroy (A superb psychological thriller). She has five books in the Eve Diamond series and her standalone book "The Last Embrace," set in 1949 Hollywood, was compared to Raymond Chandler.

Denise's books have been shortlisted for the Edgar, Macavity, Anthony and Willa Cather awards. Her debut "The Jasmine Trade" was a finalist for the prestigious Creasey Dagger Award given by the UK Crime Writers Assn. Hamilton's books have been BookSense 76 picks, USA Today Summer Picks and "Best Books of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Toronto Globe & Mail.

Prior to writing novels, Hamilton was a Los Angeles Times staff writer. Her award-winning stories have also appeared in Wired, Cosmopolitan, Der Spiegel and New Times. She covered the collapse of Communism and was a Fulbright Scholar in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War. Hamilton lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband and two boys.

She also writes a perfume column for the Los Angeles Times

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy Senk VINE VOICE on May 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Eve Diamond should be sipping a drink in her retro cocktail dress, boyfriend Silvio at her side and a night of cutting-edge theater stretched before her. But when the diva star of the play is a no-show, Eve and Silvio go to check on her as a favor to the director, who is Silvio's old friend.

By the end of the first chapter, it's clear that Eve isn't going to see the show. But the good news is that Eve, a seasoned LA Times reporter, has a big jump on her competition in what promises to be a huge breaking story.

Savage Garden is Hamilton's best-written of the four-book Eve Diamond series. It is filled with underlying themes of trust and honesty that support the plot and add depth and a certain edgy mood to the story. Are reporters making up quotes and fabricating sources? Are they stealing each other's ideas? Is Silvio being honest with Eve about his own relationship with the missing actress?

As usual, Hamilton nails the dynamics of an urban newsroom, with its hierarchies and posturing. Eve doesn't like having a new hot-shot reporter sitting at her desk, using her phone and listening in on her conversations. But she herself is not above stealing a story by pretending she couldn't stop her colleague in time to do it himself. Readers of previous Diamond mysteries are aware of Eve's insecurities and jealousies and ambition, and this book takes all these traits up a notch.

Hamilton uses the city of Los Angeles as a perfect setting for her vibrant story lines. She sets scenes in fantastic ethnic restaurants, poverty-filled neighborhoods, dense forests, rugged oceanside cliffs. The action pops off the pages, and the writing shows great style.

Savage Garden is a terrific mystery, a must-read with a strong woman lead character and a lot of suspense.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ross A. Hugovidal on May 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Hamilton jams her plot's pedal to the metal on page one, and never lets up. Savage Garden flat out smokes. Careening across the vast expanse of Los Angeles County, from the barrios to Malibu, Echo Park to the Pacific Coast Highway, Savage Garden unflinchingly targets those souls who view LA as a giant stage for their own star turns, only to so often find the tank empty. Like their city, Hamilton's characters are constantly shifting, changing, and little is as it seems. And motion, relentless motion. It's Chinatown with a latin beat and modern style. It's Chandler for the here and now. Hamilton's taut prose and exquisitely etched characters are the perfect vehicles for advancing her plot and ratcheting up the suspense. Savage Garden is the finest all-around effort to date from a significant new voice in crime fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on June 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Opening night for the play Our Lady Of The Barrio is not going as planned. The lead actress, Catarina Velosi is a no-show for the performance and Alfonso Reventon, who wrote the play for Catarina, is concerned about her. When Reventon requests that his friend, Silvio Aguilar go to Catarina's apartment to check on her, Eve Diamond tags along.

After arriving at Catarina's apartment and taking in the disturbing scene, Eve believes that the actress's disappearance involves foul play. When Catarina's body is later found, the case becomes personal for Eve. The police believe Silvio, her boyfriend, is good for the murder because of his past relationship with the victim. But Eve learns that there are a multitude of characters that hated the actress enough to snuff out her life. It is then that Eve summons her skills as a journalist to ferret out exactly what happened.

Eve's quest to solve the murder is complicated by a young reporter, Felice Morgan, who may be falsifying stories and whom insinuates herself in Eve's case. Eve doesn't particularly like Felice and definitely doesn't want a partner.

Savage Garden is Denise Hamilton's fourth Eve Diamond adventure. It is a hard-boiled mystery that is well-written and possesses a compelling, suspenseful and edgy plot. The characters are well-drawn and the fast-paced writing makes it difficult to put down. I'm looking forward to the next Eve Diamond adventure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Eve Diamond series is as much about Eve's personal connections as it is her professional pursuits as a journalist. Maybe 50/50 professional/personal. Plenty of love life angst and co-worker relationships in this one. Hamilton does very well to keep it all moving along. I can't decide if her look inside Eve's head and relationship dilemmas add realism or distraction, however. I keep coming back to her series, so I guess it's not a complete distraction for me. By delving into relationships and people Hamilton doesn't just leave it at the stereotype -- gangster, liar, crack-addled project dweller, rising star. She develops each character more fully than the stereotype. In this book, there are a few "oh, come on" moments regarding Eve and her boyfriend and co-worker, and she may go to the well on the method in which the day is saved once too often. But there are good plot twists and, as seemingly with all books in Los Angles, the details of how you travel around the city and the descriptions of and expositions on the LA landscape are numerous. LA itself is a character. In the final analsys, I like Eve's plucky veteran journalism rough edge. I just wish she would bring at about 10% of that professional toughness to her 100%-vulnerability in her relationships.
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