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Last Lullaby: An Eve Diamond Novel (Eve Diamond Novels) Hardcover – March 30, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Eve Diamond Mystery Series

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The Amazon Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One of the cardinal draws of Denise Hamilton's series about Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond (The Jasmine Trade, Sugar Skull) has been its at least partial focus on the life and politics inside a big-city newsroom. However, her third novel, Last Lullaby, pretty much abandons that element. Though it's bursting with firepower and duplicity, this tale of lost children, see-no-evil adoptions, and international smuggling sadly blurs the distinctions between Diamond and less sparkling, more conventional private eyes.

While working up a story about the U.S. Customs Service, Diamond is caught in a shootout at the Los Angeles International Airport. By the time lead stops flying, three passengers from an incoming flight out of Beijing are dead and an infant Cambodian girl who'd accompanied them has vanished. Despite her lowly status as a suburban journo, the "flawed and fanciful" young Diamond--who's always had a soft spot for children in trouble--eschews more quotidian assignments in order to concentrate on this rapidly expanding mystery. But solving it could cost her plenty, physically as well as emotionally. It places Diamond in the midst of a tug-of-war between immigration officials (who have taken the little girl into hiding, supposedly for her own protection), profusely armed goons (who'll do almost anything to get her back), and a hero-worshipped immigration attorney with a fondness for robot dogs (who hopes to win political asylum for the toddler). Meanwhile, the reporter must suffer a 10-year-old video-game obsessive with a hate on for the owners of a local cyber café; a former lover who's suddenly stepped back into her life, bringing with him more dangers than delights; and an unexpected pregnancy by Hispanic music promoter Silvio Aguilar. There are so many twists and tensions here, that one can almost hear the credibility stretching as Last Lullaby approaches its fiery culmination.

Hamilton, an ex-Times staffer herself, knows the L.A. scene intimately, and she brings to her fiction a genuine appreciation of it's history, diverse subcultures, and class disparities. Her portrayal of that sun-bleached city as home to illegal immigrants in continual fear of deportation is especially heart-rending. Yet Last Lullaby hits a sour note when it tries to turn Eve Diamond into V.I. Warshawski with a press pass. --J. Kingston Pierce

Review

"Sexy and exciting."

-- Janet Fitch

"Gripping, action-packed."

-- Chicago Sun-Times

"Engrossing."

-- The Washington Post

"So much freshness and sass...COMPARISONS WITH RAYMOND CHANDLER AREN'T TOO FAR OUT OF LINE."

-- Los Angeles Times Book Review --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Eve Diamond Novels
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743245407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743245401
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,182,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Eve Diamond has become an unlikeable character. She keeps dating extremely sketchy men, she endangers her job at the Times, and she gets rooked by needy people- the people she wants to "fix". Instead of growing throughout the series, she's declining.

Last Lullaby begins with Eve gathering information on security at LAX. September 11, 2001 has occurred recently, and the nation's airlines have upped their security. Eve's people-watching when all of a sudden, there's a shootout! Eve is haunted by an Asian toddler, as the girl looked so sick as she was carried by a beautiful Asian woman wearing a raspberry suit. Eve sees Raspberry Suit among the dead. Who will care for the little girl now? Her "father" has gone incognito. What's going to happen to the sickly baby? Who took her after Raspberry Suit was killed? Who is she? Eve is determined to find this out.

Last Lullaby is more focused than Sugar Skull. Hamilton stick to characters and situations that help the story move along. Even Lorenzo, a Hispanic fifth-grader who is "bright as Polaris" becomes relevant. (Of course, bleeding heart Eve wants to help this boy, who obviously just needs some extra love and affection to push him towards acceptance in a magnet school. ::sigh::) Lorenzo, however is also a predicatable character: poor, no father, hard-working single mom, can't get the help he needs in school because mom doesn't speak English, etc.

Silvio, love interest from Sugar Skull, returns to seduce Eve. Eve knows fully well that she is not permitted to see him until his ex-future-sister-in-law's trial is over. But, of course, Eve can't help but be seduced by Silvio. Silvio still has some sketchiness to him.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hamilton's hero, Eve Diamond, continues her adventures, both journalistic and romantic in this latest installment in the series. Eve, the daughter of a Russian émigré, lives in an artsy multi-cultural community near Downtown Los Angeles, Los Feliz, and pursues her journalistic trade throughout the city. Her specialty seems to be stories involving adolescents but she follows other leads as well. In this book she is following a story involving the adoption of children from Asia.

In an interesting parallel she also discovers she is pregnant by Silvio, her latest amour. She has not seen him much due a court case and so she is feeling lonely and emotionally vulnerable when an old love shows up.

Eve is a complex and interesting character. This latest installment brings more passion and personality into the Eve Diamond series.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading an Eve Diamond novel is like going on a ride at Disney. You truly believe you are experiencing every twist and turn in the plot until the ride ends and you realize how much you enjoyed the delusion. Hamilton's Los Angeles is as grity and tough as it is intimate and vulnerable and her protagonist reflects the City in which she grew up. In this episode Eve is trying to rescue an infant who is a pawn in some unknown scheme involving Asian drug trafficking, the INS, and a reknowned human rights attorney. Eve doggedly pursues this story while also grappeling with her feelings for her current lover and a past lover who has mysteriously reappeared in her life. We can"t help but root for this gutsy heroine as she follows confusing leads to a deadly conclusion. I would give more than five stars to this entire series if I could. Read them all!!
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Format: Hardcover
I love the Eve Diamond series and would recommend it, as well as her other 'stand alone' novels, to any reader of mysteries and LA noir fans. That said, this was my least favorite of the series. The timing just seemed off, the characters were rote in their behaviour. If you read the series, many loose ends are tied up in this book but that somehow took away from the plot and case she was working on. I'm a big fan of the series, and suggest reading them in order (Jasmine, Sugar Skull, this one, Savage Garden). However, this one leaves a little bit of an aftertaste.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
Reviewed by David Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times
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