Wildfires in the Santa Monica Mountains lay bare charred and scattered bones. The investigation is assigned to Eve Ronin, the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. When the remains are identified belonging to a woman who disappeared six years ago, Eve finds herself tackling a cold case that quickly becomes very hot, threatening to implicate several of her fellow officers.
This is Lee Goldberg’s second mystery featuring Ronin and the character and plot lines are as intriguing and sharp as ever. (Read a review of Ronin’s first outing, Lost Hills.)
Eve earned a promotion and the moniker “Deathfist” after she subdued a man she saw assaulting a woman in a restaurant parking lot. The action was caught on someone’s cellphone and when the man was identified as Blake Largo, an actor who plays the action hero Deathfist, the video quickly went viral. The sheriff’s office, battling a black eye from allegations its officers were beating prisoners in the county jail, pounced on Eve’s newfound celebrity to promote her to the Robbery-Homicide Division. Eve accepted her new assignment, but she continues to turn down offers from Hollywood agents and producers who want to make her TV’s next female crime-fighter. Initially Eve was vilified for jumping the line ahead of more experienced officers. But after she rescues three children during her last case, she’s beginning to earn the respect she deserves.
All that could change if Eve’s investigation leads to the arrest of several detectives in the Lost Hill’s Sheriff’s station in Calabasas. The missing woman, Sabrina Morton, had been partying on the beach with a group of men who had been surfing. She woke up hours later with no memory of what had happened other than knowing she had been raped. She walked into the nearest police station, and was quickly transported to a hospital where a rape kit was taken. A few days later, her memory returning, she went back to the beach to show people the sketch of a tattoo she had seen on the calves of the men. When it turns out that the tattoo – two surfboards, a gun, and a great white shark – is one worn by half the deputies at the Lost Hills station, Eve knows she’s on dangerous ground.
Fortunately, Eve’s partner, Duncan Pavone, nicknamed “Donuts” and 100+ days away from his retirement, continues to school her and watch her back. Eve’s ability to investigate is hampered by a wrist injury she sustained during her last case which requires regular session with Mitch Swayer, the physical therapist from hell. She also constantly dodges phone calls from her family: her mother, Jen, a fading actress, and her father, Vincent, a director, who continue to pressure Eve about a possible TV series, seeing themselves as participants and beneficiaries. Since Eve still bears scars from her childhood – her father abandoned the family and never paid child support – she tries to keep her parents at arm’s length. She’s closer with her half siblings (they all had different fathers), but lifestyle differences continue to intervene.
Eve’s love life does get a pick me up when she works with Daniel Brooks, a forensic anthropologist, called in to collect, identify, and catalogue the bones. His job becomes more complicated, and Eve’s investigation more important, when a second set of bones is discovered.
Bone Canyon is well paced with enough action and twists and turns to keep the pages turning. Goldberg not only writes novels but also TV shows, including the popular Monk series with Tony Shaloub. Can a series with Eve Ronin be in the future?
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