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LOST HILLS by Lee Goldberg

I've been reading Lee Goldberg for years, but I've never seen him write anything like Lost Hills, the first book of a new police series.

The book is dark and edgy, and it has a heroine you can't help but root for because she's smart and doesn't back down to authority. She's a young sheriff's department deputy who got into the coveted detective division through a fluke that she's determined to make the best of. Other officers and detectives don't like her instant claim to fame or the circumstances that propelled her into the position, but she's not going to let that stand in the way of her having the career she wants.

I love Eve Ronin, and I love the name because he harkens back to the masterless samurai of Japanese history. The 47 ronin in Japanese mythology didn't have a good end, but I'm hoping Eve does. The way isn't going to be smooth, though, as this first book so thoroughly demonstrates.

Eve's path is definitely an uphill one, and she's going to have to prove herself time and again, but I look forward to the journey, and certainly to more books. I love her sister, and, though I don't care for her mother, the woman is certainly a gadfly to push Eve to achieve on her on terms.

The book simply wouldn't be the same without the mom. She represents the Hollywood influence that will probably run through the background in all of these books, and it's a world that Lee Goldberg knows intimately after years of being in that business.

Goldberg has uses the Hollywood background, and his knowledge of Los Angeles, in other books he's done as well, particularly his other current action/suspense series about Ian Ludlow, which was a pseudonym for a young Lee Goldberg just getting into the action adventure books of the 1980s.

Lost Hills is a definite cop book. Goldberg's plot came from a real life encounter with police officers at a convention who talked about similar circumstances. The author is dead on with his depiction of a murder investigation and plays fairly with all the clues. And there are clues. This book isn't a mystery in the true sense of the word, but Eve has to figure some things out along the way.

The pacing is really good. I kept turning pages, wanting to see what happened next. Eve turns up clues and follows the leads, and the reader rides shotgun throughout.

Eve is human, fallible, and I love her for those things.

At one point, Goldberg references Michael Connelly's writing and his series hero, Harry Bosch, in the course of the novel. I think it's a nod to Connelly, who also blurbed this novel with praise.

If you're a fan of Connelly's books, or of the television series starring Titus Welliver, you'll enjoy Lost Hills and look forward to the next book in Goldberg's series.

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