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Friday, April 4, 2014

Review - Murder on Bamboo Lane

 This is the first book in a new series with a unique mix of ethnic diversity, a big city, and a young bicycle cop.  Find out how this mix rated from the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai Mystery Series.

Author: Naomi Hirahara

Copyright: April 2014 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 1st in Officer Ellie Rush Mysteries

Sensuality: some scattered swearing

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy--Police Procedural hybrid

Main Character:  23 year-old Officer Ellie Rush, bicycle cop

Setting: Modern day, Los Angeles

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Bike cop Ellie Rush finds her first dead body on the job, and realizes it is a former college classmate, Jenny Nguyen.  Ellie ends up in the middle of police department politics when her Aunt Cheryl, the Assistant chief, maneuvers her into investigating Jenny's murder with Detective Cortez Williams.  Making everything  interesting is Ellie's nosy best friend, her over-involved ex-boyfriend Benjamin, an attraction to detective Williams.  The killer is dangerously close and the motive reaches back to Vietnam. 

Ellie Rush is half Japanese, half Caucasian who speaks Spanish and gets a large amount of derision from her peers and most of her family for becoming a police officer.  She has to deal with issues of broken trust close to her in this novel.  Nay Pram is her best friend who is loyal and blunt at times.  Detective Cortez Williams is an interesting character, perhaps even the breakout in this story, and I look forward to seeing him more.  Aunt Cheryl is so ambitious she is dangerous.  Making for a layered story beyond just the murder.

Los Angeles many areas and events that Ellie patrols provide a neighborhood perspective to the sprawling city.  The mix of cultures is a defining feature of the novel which made it more alive.  The plot was interesting and took turns I wasn't expecting.  It maintained a good and balanced pace.  The climax wasn't my favorite high octane, but was handled well none-the-less.  The wrap up left me with that feeling of wanting more so it won't be the end.  Always a sign of a good book.  It did take a few chapters to get used to the youthful lingo in the narrative.

A good, solid debut novel that promises good things in a unique mystery niche.

Ratings: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

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Unknown said...

Also with an international setting: Your readers might enjoy learning about a new organization starting up. It's called the Mexico Mystery Writers Cartel, and I'm pleased to be a founding member. Murder in Mexico is my series of eleven mysteries set in and around the upscale expat colony of San Miguel de Allende. Artist Paul Zacher is drawn into crime investigation because ‘he might see things differently.’ Maybe it’s time for the rich humanity of Mexico to show through all the narco headlines! Ready for the real Mexico, beyond the phony news reports? Take a look at this suspenseful and often funny series, available in Print, Kindle, Nook, & Kobo. Start with ‘Twenty Centavos’ by trying a sample on my website.

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