Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: Grave on Grand Avenue by Naomi Hirahara (Ellie Rush #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Compelling characters that make you care about the story
Cons: Mysteries a tad underdeveloped, but book always page turning
The Bottom Line:
Ellie gets involved
Case with international

Rare Cellos are Murder

I was surprised by just how much I loved the first book about Ellie Rush when I read it last year, so I was looking forward to reading Grave on Grand Avenue.  Unfortunately, I now have to wait to learn more about this compelling character.  However, the great news is this is another good book.

Ellie Rush is not your typical heroine, at least for the books I read.  She is a bicycle cop with the LAPD who normally works events in and around downtown.  While she is not currently a detective, she wants to rise in the ranks to that job, and she is getting practice with the cases she stumbles upon.

Bicycle cop Ellie Rush is stationed outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  World renown Chinese cellist Xu is scheduled to participate in the next concert and he is arriving for a rehearsal.  While she is distracted for a moment, there is a struggle with a gardener working in the area over Xu’s rare cello, and the gardener gets pushed down the stairs.  Suddenly, Ellie is caught up in what could turn into an international incident.

Meanwhile, a series of bank robberies have been taking place in LA, and the person caught on camera is an old woman.  She’s just killed someone at the most recent robbery and that’s added to the pressure to find and arrest her.  However, Ellie gets a tip from an unexpected source.  Is this information true?  What will this source mean for her personally?

Even with two mysteries, I felt that they sometimes took a back seat to other things.  Those other things included the fallout of Ellie’s involvement in these cases in both her professional and personal life.  While it did seem like the mysteries suffered a bit as a result, I still found this book a compelling read.  Watching everything unfold was actually very interesting and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

That’s because Ellie is a real person.  You can’t help but root for her as she deals with the problems she is facing.  Her family and friends are just as real and they make up quite a varied lot of personalities.  This makes the stakes of what Ellie is facing mean something to us since we can understand where the other characters are coming from.  Her half-Japanese ancestry adds another layer to her character and her family and the story that I really appreciated.

The book is written in first person present tense, which isn’t the most common choice out there.  Whenever I run across a book written like this, it takes a bit to adjust my brain to the style, but once I do I enjoy it.

This is not the typical cozy that I read, and I appreciate that change of pace.  Grave on Grand Avenue is an enjoyable book with characters that will bring the reader back for more.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


I'm also hosting a giveaway of this book.  If you'd like to win a copy, simply leave me a comment that includes your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.  The contest will run until midnight California time on 4/13, and I will contact the winner on 4/14.

The prize is one copy, either paperback or ebook.  Paperback winner must be in the US, but the ebook winner can be international.

Good luck.


  1. This sounds like a great series. Would enjoy reading this book. Thank you for the giveaway.
    My email address is debrapuksar&ymail.com

  2. I would love the book. Currently reading the first in the series, Murder on Bamboo drive. Cynthiajoymaher@gmail.com (hopefully this will publish, the first time I tried it didn't)

  3. A New to me series.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

  4. I loved the first book and missed the pub date on this one. The first books gives such a different view of L.A. from the usual police procedural/hard-boiled novel, so that was interesting.I loved Ellie and so many other interesting characters!