Hamilton, Denise 1959–

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Hamilton, Denise 1959–

PERSONAL: Born 1959, in Los Angeles, CA; married; children: two. Education: Loyola Marymount University, B.A., 1981; California State University, M.A., 1987.

ADDRESSES: Home—Glendale, CA. E-mail[email protected] denisehamilton.com.

CAREER: Writer, freelance journalist. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, staff writer, 1985–95; New York University's Institute for War, Peace, and Reporting, consultant.

MEMBER: Crime Writers International, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, PEN West, Los Angeles Press Club, Silverlake Fiction Writer's Workshop.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright scholar; Edgar Award nomination for best first novel, 2001, for The Jasmine Trade; Los Angeles Press Club awards in feature writing and business writing; Best Book of 2004 selection, Los Angeles Times, for Last Lullaby; Best Mystery of 2005 finalist, Southern California Booksellers Award, for Savage Garden.

WRITINGS:

The Jasmine Trade: A Novel of Suspense Introducing Eve Diamond, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.

Sugar Skull: An Eve Diamond Novel, Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.

Last Lullaby: An Eve Diamond Novel, Scribner (New York, NY), 2004.

Savage Garden, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.

Prisoner of Memory, Scribner (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to Los Angeles Times, Wired, Cosmopolitan, Der Spiegel, and New York Times. Contributor of a short story to anthology Thriller, 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Denise Hamilton worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times for ten years. During her time there Hamilton reported on the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union, Japan's youth movements, and news from the suburbs of Los Angeles. A freelance journalist, Hamilton continues to write for the Los Angeles Times and has been published in other periodicals as well, including Wired, Cosmopolitan, Der Spiegel, and the New Times.

In her first novel, The Jasmine Trade: A Novel of Suspense Introducing Eve Diamond, Hamilton used her experiences as a Los Angeles Times reporter. In the book, Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond is covering the story of a seventeen-year-old engaged woman, Marina Chang, who was murdered during a hijacking at a suburban mall. As she investigates the murder, Eve discovers the world of the parachute kids, Asian kids who live by themselves in luxurious mansions while their parents run businesses in Japan and China. Eve enters the world of the parachute kids and finds dangers in the form of gangs, murder, and prostitution rings. Los Angeles Magazine contributor Roberto Ito praised The Jasmine Trade for containing "all the plot twists and creepy characters one would expect from an L.A. noir thriller." Other critics also wrote positive comments about Hamilton's fictional debut. "In addition to a gripping story and keen observations about contemporary Los Angeles, she also offers an undeniably winning narrator," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor of Hamilton.

Hamilton continues with mysteries featuring journalist Eve Diamond in Sugar Skull: An Eve Diamond Novel and Last Lullaby: An Eve Diamond Novel. In the former work, Hamilton mixes a mayoral race with celebrations of the Mexican Day of the Dead to produce a "passionate new puzzle," according to a contributor for Publishers Weekly. Susan Clifford Braun, writing in Library Journal, praised the "great local color" included in Sugar Skull. With Last Lullaby, Hamilton presents a "furiously boiling tale of schemers smuggling drugs, children, and more," as a Kirkus Reviews critic noted. Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, David Montgomery called Hamilton "one of the brightest new talents to enter crime fiction over the last few years," and praised Last Lullaby as a "gripping, action-packed work that ought to bring [Hamilton's] books to a much wider audience."

In Hamilton's fourth outing with Eve Diamond, Savage Garden, the reporter investigates a crime at a theater which leads in unexpected directions. Writing in Booklist, Keir Graff felt Savage Garden was "a nice update on the hard-boiled genre." For a Publishers Weekly contributor, the same novel was "compelling," and Braun, writing again in Library Journal, called Hamilton's protagonist "edgy, smart, and credible."

Latino and Asian communities were the focus of the initial volumes in the "Eve Diamond" series. With the 2006 Prisoner of Memory, however, Hamilton examines Los Angeles's Russian community. Now a reporter on the Metro section of the Los Angeles Times, Eve finds herself investigating the shooting death of the son of a Russian immigrant. This investigation ultimately turns back on Eve's own family history and that of the Cold War. Allison Block, writing in Booklist, found this installment the "most personal" in the "critically acclaimed series." Further praise came from a Publishers Weekly contributor who felt Hamilton "richly evokes seething, polyglot L.A."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Jasmine Trade: A Novel of Suspense Introducing Eve Diamond, p. 1736; February 15, 2005, Keir Graff, review of Savage Garden, p. 1064; April 1, 2006, Allison Block, review of Prisoner of Memory, p. 24.

Chicago Sun-Times, May 2, 2004, David Montgomery, "Is This Denise Hamilton's Breakout?," review of Last Lullaby: An Eve Diamond Novel.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2003, review of Sugar Skull: An Eve Diamond Novel, p. 114; February 15, 2004, review of Last Lullaby, p. 157; March 1, 2005, review of Savage Garden, p. 263; February 15, 2006, review of Prisoner of Memory, p. 163.

Library Journal, January, 2003, Susan Clifford Braun, review of Sugar Skull, p. 164; March 1, 2005, Susan Clifford Braun, review of Savage Garden, p. 72.

Los Angeles Times, August, 2001, Robert Ito, review of The Jasmine Trade, p. 108.

New York Times Book Review, August 5, 2001, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Jasmine Trade.

Publishers Weekly, July 2, 2001, review of The Jasmine Trade, p. 53; February 17, 2003, review of Sugar Skull, p. 61; February 9, 2004, review of Last Lullaby, p. 54; February 28, 2005, review of Savage Garden, p. 39; February 27, 2006, review of Prisoner of Memory, p. 34.

ONLINE

Books 'n' Bytes, http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (September 3, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of The Jasmine Trade.

Denise Hamilton Home Page, http://www.denisehamilton.com (September 23, 2006).

Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (September 3, 2002), Cathy Sova, interview with Denise Hamilton; Andy Plonka, review of The Jasmine Trade.

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