Lee Goldberg is such a prolific writer that it takes three pages in his new mystery to list his other titles. Known as a writer and producer of many TV shows, including Monk, he also penned 15 books featuring the neurotic detective made famous by Tony Shaloub. He has two Ian Ludlow mysteries to his credit. (Read the reviews of the first and second.) Yet his latest mystery is one of his best, launching a new female detective, Eve Ronin, who works for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Ronin earns the nickname “Deathfist,” after she takes down the famous actor who inhabits that lead role in action films. After witnessing Blake Largo assault a woman in a restaurant parking lot, she confronts him. He takes a swing at her and ends up on the ground in cuffs. Someone nearby films the takedown and the video goes viral, scoring 11 million hits in less than a week. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department had earned a black eye after allegations that deputies were beating prisoners at the county jail. Eve’s new found celebrity was a gift to the department and won her a promotion to the prestigious Robbery-Homicide Division.
She is fortunate to be paired with Duncan Pavone, a veteran deputy who is counting the days to his retirement. Not threatened by being paired with the department’s new star, Duncan proves to be a reliable mentor who also watches his partner’s back.
Although Eve takes jabs for using her celebrity to move up the ladder, she makes no apologies for her promotion. And even Duncan can see as he watches Eve work that she will prove herself worthy of any promotion or award that comes her way.
Right off the bat, she and Duncan are tested when they are called to the scene of an apparent homicide. Although the home is drenched in blood, the single mother and her two children who live there are nowhere to be found. Medical experts who report to the scene acknowledge that with that much blood, it’s unlikely that any of the victims survived. The focus then becomes a search for the bodies.
Goldberg knows police procedure and uses that knowledge to construct a plot that is not only plausible but compelling. A suspect is soon taken into custody, but without any evidence to link him to the crime, and without any bodies, Eve knows she’s on a timetable before he will be let go and perhaps destroy anything that might lead to his conviction. Along the way, the clues Eve picks up, which many of the seasoned detectives around her miss, begins to earn her the respect she deserves.
I’d like to say that Goldberg has saved his best for last, but, hopefully this Eve Ronin adventure is just the first of what will become a winning series.
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