Lee Goldberg, twice nominated for the Edgar and Shamus Awards, has written a number of serial titles like Ian Ludlow, Monk, Charlie Willis and Diagnosis Murder. In addition to scriptwriting, Goldberg collaborated with Janet Evanovich on the successful series Fox & O'Hare. One of his most well-received series titles is Eve Ronin. The series was launched in 2019 with Lost Hills and continued with two sequels, Bone Canyon and Gated Prey. To delve into the character and the series, I'm starting with Lost Hills.
Eve Ronin was a deputy in Lancaster, a charter city in Northern Los Angles County. After she made an off-duty arrest of a drunken and abusive celebrity, Eve soared to popularity. Her arrest was captured on a video that went viral. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's department needed positive publicity, so Eve was promoted to detective in the Robbery-Homicide division of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s station. Her partner is Duncan Pavone, a veteran that is less than four months away from retirement.
As one can imagine, Eve faces a lot of criticism from her colleagues. They're not happy about the shortcut she took to get her new job. Further, they feel that her lack of homicide investigation experience is detrimental to the department. Her critics are sexist, unapologetic and unprofessional. Eve's cases will be more difficult to resolve due to the unnecessary obstacles she is forced to confront.
Eve and Duncan are sent to a house near Topanga State Park, a dense forested area in the Santa Monica Mountains. Once inside the home, the two partners discover a grisly slaughterhouse. The walls and floor are saturated with blood, conveying the violence and death that has taken place. The victims appear to be a single woman, her two children, and the family dog. Mysteriously, there are no bodies. After Eve explores a nearby hill, she is assaulted and knocked out by what looks like a furry monster.
Goldberg's narrative is a tight, comprehensive procedural that is stylishly episodic in nature. It's easily accessible and was presented like a solid, well-written television show. Eve's determination and commitment to solve the case is admirable. It created a long-lasting, but highly enjoyable, investigation into this poor family's past, their connections and the possible suspects and motives that potentially brought about their horrific demise.
With Lost Hills, Lee Goldberg has introduced a remarkable, tenacious female detective in Eve Ronin. She's flawed, but determined. Inexperienced, but courageous. Outmanned, but defiant. Goldberg places this unlikely hero in a problematic, fast-paced pursuit to find a killer, effectively establishing her as the reliant hero we've always wanted...and deserved.
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