Showing posts with label Eve Ronin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eve Ronin. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Eve Ronin #03 - Gated Prey

In my review of Lee Goldberg's Bone Canyon (Jan, 2021 Thomas & Mercer), the second installment in the Eve Ronin police-procedural series, I stated that every page in the book meant something. Eve's steadfast, relentless investigations into city corruption, murder, and victim injustice consumed each and every page, leaving no clue neglected for readers and fans to decipher and discover. That sentiment holds true for the series' third entry, Gated Prey (Oct, 2021 Thomas & Mercer), as Los Angeles County Sheriff's detective Eve Ronin, and her partner Duncan “Doughnuts” Pavone journey into some fairly unusual areas to solve a violent home-invasion case.

As the book begins, Eve and Duncan are conducting a sting operation in a 4,500 square-foot mini-mansion in the fictional Calabasas gated community of Vista Grande. The assignment is to bait and catch a group of armed robbers plaguing the community. Eve and Duncan must understand the method of how the robbers are passing the guards undetected if they have any hope of catching the culprits. Thankfully, the sting operation brings the criminal network to fruition, but two of the criminals are killed in the conflict and another escapes to a crowded store. This exciting opening scene sets the stage for Goldberg's twisty narrative to come alive with colorful characters and the obligatory investigation and turbulent aftermath.

By this third novel, readers are aligned with Eve's strong resistance to police corruption and the political upheaval that most of her cases create. One of the most endearing and entertaining aspects to this series is simply watching the young, talented homicide detective ebb and flow through the bureaucracy, endless red tape, and deep criminal channels that seem to envelope society.

Like a riveting multifaceted procedural mystery (John Creasey's excellent Gideon comes to mind), Goldberg's narrative doesn't just present one case for readers and heroes to solve. Instead, Gated Prey presents a number of different story-lines involving not only the home-invasion robbery angle, but also the death of a newborn baby, the aftermath of a deputy's suicide, and Eve's adjustment to a new Captain. All of these elements create a wonderful smorgasbord of crime-fiction that continues the same level of excellence we've come to expect from this new series.

Gated Prey is another stellar installment in the wildly entertaining Eve Ronin series and a further testament to Lee Goldberg's strength as a creative, innovative storyteller. Highly recommended. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Eve Ronin #02 - Bone Canyon

Script writer and novelist Lee Goldberg rocketed into the New York Times Bestseller list with the successful series Fox & O'Hare, co-authored by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum, Knight and Moon). Along with successful titles like Monk, Charlie Willis, and Ian Ludlow, Goldberg has recently concentrated his efforts on Eve Ronin, a crime-fiction title that began in 2019 with Lost Hills. I read and reviewed the novel and found it to be an exciting, high-quality start to the series. In 2021, the second Eve Ronin novel, Bone Canyon, was published. It's available in physical, digital, and audio editions.

In Lost Hills, Goldberg introduced Eve, a rookie homicide detective working for the Robbery-Homicide division of the Lost Hills Sheriff's station, a mid-sized city in South-Central California. Eve is despised by most of her fellow officers for short cutting the seniority climb. After an off-duty arrest of an intoxicated, disorderly celebrity, Eve discovered that the incident was captured on video and released to social media. The incident and footage made her the local hero and a political pawn utilized by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office. Needing the positive image, they promoted Eve, a prior patrol cop, to homicide detective. In the debut novel, Eve solidifies her local hero status by valiantly solving a triple murder. 

What makes Eve a different type of hero is how much she avoids fame and fortune. After a second video becomes viral, her media status escalates. A Hollywood agent wants to sign her for a television deal, endless reporters want an exclusive, and her mother and sister both want her to look glamorous for her newfound spotlight. But Eve doesn't care about anything other than her job. She's resilient and steadfast in her mission to serve the people. She repeatedly declines TV deals and interviews and continues working cases with her soon-to-be retired partner Duncan “Doughnuts” Pavone. Eve is Duncan's mentor, a relationship that transcends from student and master to something more akin to a niece and uncle. 

In Bone Canyon, Eve and Duncan are called to investigate the remains of a human skull found in the Santa Monica Mountains. During the search for more bone fragments, Eve is introduced to a bookish, yet charismatic anthropologist named Daniel. The two immediately have a chemistry and Eve relies on Daniel's experience to piece together a fragmented skeleton. In doing so, Daniel locates more skeletal remains of another individual. This discovery expands the examination into two cases that are possibly unrelated. 

Through trials and tribulation, Eve and Duncan face physical and emotional adversity. There's political upheaval when the two detectives trace the clues back to a fraternity of officers within the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Eve's mental fortitude is put to the test when she carefully walks a balance beam of time-management, health, and her eroding camaraderie with her co-workers. In addition to the work stress, her family life continues to be a burden. Her mother, a comical whirlwind, remains persistent in belittling Eve's career choices. In an important side-story, Eve's sister introduces her to a physical therapist in hopes that it paves the way to romance. 

Bone Canyon is superb procedural fiction, complete with action, suspense, and an exhilarating pace. Every page means something. Aside from the twists and turns of the case, readers are thrust further into Eve's personal life, with a more dynamic awareness of her love life, personal attrition, media stardom, and her inevitable future without the veteran experience of Duncan. 

This novel is a real cornerstone of the series, one that places Eve at the proverbial crossroads – fight for the truth despite the deadly risk or find solace by gratifying the corruption. Her against-the-grain attitude and determination makes her one of the most independent characters in ages. Her decisions are hers alone to make, and even Lee Goldberg has no say in the matter. She's doing it her way, and her way is what readers will love. I can't wait for the next one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Eve Ronin #01 - Lost Hills

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.