Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great twisty mystery
Cons: Main characters need more development
The Bottom Line:
Eve’s first homicide
Engaging, twisty story
That’s hard to put down
Eve’s First Big Case
I’ve been reading Lee Goldberg for years. It started with his Diagnosis: Murder and Monk tie in novels, and it has spread out to just about everything else he has written. So I was excited to follow him to police procedural territory with Lost Hills, the first in a new series featuring Eve Ronin.
Eve works for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. She has just been promoted to homicide thanks to a well-timed viral video. The sheriff is hoping that promoting this woman, the youngest person ever promoted to homicide, will take the focus off an on-going scandal. However, Eve finds she has to prove herself to her new coworkers.
Her chance comes when she and her partner, Duncan Pavone, are called to the scene of a crime in Calabasas. A friend has called to report that Tanya Kenworth never showed up for work. The house where Tanya lives is covered in blood in every room, but there are no bodies. What could have happened to her?
In true Lee Goldberg fashion, this book grabbed me from page one and never let me go. The story starts within the first few pages, and the twists start coming almost as quickly. As we jump from clue to suspect to red herring to clue, the pages fly by, building to a suspenseful and satisfying climax. Truly, I never wanted to put the book down.
Having said that, the characters could be better. I felt like Eve and her co-workers fell a bit into the clichés of the police procedural genre. We get glimpses of more depths to the characters, and I hope those are expanded upon as the series progresses. It’s a minor weakness.
All the characters are developed enough to make us care about the outcome. I wouldn’t have been as hooked as I was if that weren’t the case.
Naturally, since this is a police procedural, the content is a little darker than in the cozies I typically read. While we don’t see any violence, we do read plenty about the aftermath of the violence. It was described accurately, but I never felt it went farther than it had to go to establish the scene. Likewise, there is a smattering of foul language, but it was never excessive.
It wouldn’t be a Lee Goldberg book if there weren’t some humor in it. Don’t get me wrong, this is a serious story, and the mystery and its effects on the characters are treated as such. However, there are moments that help lighten the otherwise dark story, and I enjoyed them.
Lee Goldberg has another great series on his fans. Now that I’ve met Eve in Lost Hills, I’ll definitely be back for me.