Saturday, July 2, 2011
31. The Jasmine Trade - Denise Hamilton
Pinnacle Books, Kensington Publishing, 2001
328 pgs (with about 20 more following the story, the first of book number 2, The Sugar Skull.)
For : Adults
Eve Diamond is 29, smart, quick, and little bit dare-devilish. She writes for the LA Times, particularly in the San Gabriel Valley. Her JOB is to horn her way into people's lives so she can get the down and dirty. And she does her job well.
The whole suburban area around LA is the setting, and Denise Hamilton uses it well. The descriptions became so real that I found a suburban LA map and spent a good hour pouring over it, glad to have it handy when I encountered a new place that Eve had to cover. She describes her home in Silverlake so well, I can hear it, see it, smell it.
The book begins when she is asked to write a story about a 17 year old Chinese-American girl that was murdered during a car jacking. The girl was rich and pretty, but only Eve sensed that there was more to the story than a simple car jacking. Along the way I learned so much, about "parachute kids", kids whose parents have moved them to southern California to go to good schools to get into good colleges, ensconcing them in huge, fancy, homes....and then going back to China or Hong Kong or Malaysia and being a long-distant parent. I learned about Asian gangs, brothels, and the kidnapping sex trade......as bad as the slave trade from Africa. It was well written, and every single one of my questions was answered by the end of the book. Nothing was left hanging. Characters became real, hearing Eve's thoughts were an added bonus.
This was a great story, truly interesting, informative, well-written, and suspenseful. I can't wait to read number two!