Prather’s Pick: A have-to-keep-reading novel
Thanks go to the nice people at the Craig Branch of Moffat County Libraries who put together a bag of new books for me, all candidates for review in this column. I picked them up curbside and have been enjoying the books since.
One quieter-than-usual afternoon this last week, I picked up “Lost Hills,’ written by Lee Goldberg, author of a wealth of fiction and nonfiction books. I started reading in the afternoon, and in spite of the breaks I took to do chores, I finished the book that same evening. The novel’s plot is fast-paced, the heroine and other characters are “interesting,” and there are just the right amount of descriptive details in the storyline. It was such pleasurable reading that I just had to keep turning the pages.
The protagonist is Eve Ronin, a homicide detective at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. She is the youngest female homicide detective in the department’s history. Eve got the promotion after she made an off-duty arrest of Blake Largo, known for his movie role of Deathfist. She witnessed him assaulting a woman in a parking lot. When Eve encountered him, he took a swing at her, and she took him to the ground.
A bystander got it all on his phone video and uploaded it to YouTube. There were eleven million hits. Now everybody calls Eve Deathfist. At the time, the Sheriff’s Department was in the middle of a scandal so it made sense to promote their popular deputy. Now Eve has been a detective for Robbery-Homicide for three months. She is partnered with Duncan Pavone, a soon-to-retire detective. Eve’s status is under constant scrutiny from colleagues who resent her promotion.
As the novel begins, Eve and Duncan answer a call that a possible person is down at Topanga. They are met at a house by Alexis Ward who is pacing back and forth. She reports that Tanya Kenworth never showed up for her seven o’clock call time at Paramount where she and Alexis are extras. (The novel’s setting centers around those involved in motion picture/television work.)
Tanya has two children, Caitlin and Troy, ten and seven. The house belongs to Tanya’s boyfriend, Jared Rawlins. Tanya has been planning to move somewhere else.
The scene inside is grizzly, indeed, but in spite of all the blood found inside, no bodies are found. The family dog is also missing. Nan Baker and other technicians collect evidence and report that the victims, including the dog, were brutally murdered and dismembered and their bodies taken away.
While searching around outdoors, Eve notices a path through the weeds. She finds a recent campsite with a sleeping bag and some trash from a McDonald’s meal. Eve is taking pictures when she hears a twig snap. She turns her head to see a rampaging hairy monster that hits her on the head and then brutally kicks her. Eve is out cold.
Chief suspects are Jared Rawlins and Tanya’s ex-husband Cleve, but what about the hairy monster?
I really liked this book—a lot! I can imagine it as a movie. The ending is especially thrilling.
Published by Thomas & Mercer, 2019, the hardcover book sells for $24.95. You can find it at the Craig Library.
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