Damage Control: A Novel Hardcover – Sep 6 2011
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"A riveting stand-alone thriller. . . . In a novel that marries celebrity culture, surf noir and the bonds of friendship, Hamilton is at the top of her game."--Kirkus
“Denise Hamilton scores her largest and greatest triumph: Damage Control is a great mystery, and, much more rarely, a superb psychological thriller. Kudos to this brilliant talent.”--James Ellroy
"You can't beat L.A.-based noir for moodiness, and no one writes it better than Denise Hamilton."--USA Today
"Hamilton has constructed an intricate and finely-balanced thriller that joins all the flavors and worlds of southern California into a heady cocktail of sex, celebrity, and consequence."--BN.com
"A tale about unbridled ambition, friendship and betrayal... A welcome return."--Oline Cogdill, Associated Press
“You can’t beat LA-based noir for moodiness, and no one writes it better than Denise Hamilton.”—USA Today
“The mystery Hamilton conjures is convincing, and she has a fine and accurate eye for how privileged Anglenos live. But it’s her ability to pull the curtain back on the often-opaque world of crisis management that will stay with you long after the novel is finished.” –NPR.org
“A tale about unbridled ambitioin, friendship, and betrayal….Realistic characters live in Hamilton’s L.A., where the division between the haves and the have-nots can be immense. . . . A welcome return.”—Sun-Sentinel
About the Author
Denise Hamilton is a writer-journalist whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, and The New York Times and is the author of five acclaimed Eve Diamond crime novels, Prisoner of Memory, Savage Garden, Last Lullaby, Sugar Skull, and The Jasmine Trade, all of which have been Los Angeles Times bestsellers. She is also the editor of and a contributor to the short story anthology Los Angeles Noir, winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Mystery of 2007. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children. Visit her at www.denisehamilton.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This stand alone book from Denise Hamilton is quick paced and suspenseful. As usual, Ms. Hamilton does a great job of presenting life in Los Angeles; in this case, both in contemporary and early 1990's settings. She also gives us a glimpse of what it's like to work in PR, especially with clients who live in the public eye. For me, the ending wasn't completely surprising, though I didn't figure out the specifics of the mystery. Although I enjoyed the book overall, there were a few weaknesses I couldn't overlook. I found it hard to believe that someone working in PR in LA wouldn't know who the senior senator from CA is. Although I know there are plenty of people who don't follow politics, Maggie's job is to be connected to current events. And, the entire subplot around perfume was odd. The dialog around perfume in the book felt forced and unnecessary. Though it does ultimately tie into the plot, the sections about perfume felt like asides from the author not thoughts of the character.
Bottom line: Recommended to fans Ms. Hamilton, location-based mysteries, or perfumistas.
Before she has a chance to do much, however, her manager calls to tell her they have an even more important client back at the office. When she gets there, she's surprised to see someone she once knew very well: the father of her high school best friend, now a respected Senator.
When Maggie realizes what she is expected to do, she briefly considers resigning, but she knows she can't. She has a mortgage to pay and a cancer-survivor mother to support, and so she must recall of the unpleasantness that ended her friendship with Anabelle Paxton.
It takes some time before Maggie allows herself (and the reader) into the place where those memories are hidden. The gradual revelation of those memories begins with smells: sand and salt water, barbecue-flavored potato chips, patchouli. It's already been made clear that the olfactory sense is very significant to Maggie. In the first chapter of the book Maggie describes dabbing her wrists with perfume just before meeting a client:
"...clean, crisp notes of citrus, bergamot and verbena. Nothing cloying or clobbering...Just a subtle scent amulet to infuse me with secret grace and power."
Ms. Hamilton skilfully describes Maggie's reactions to sights, sounds, and smells to increase the already strong empathy the reader has with her through the first-person point of view. We become so attuned to Maggie's senses and emotions that we can almost feel the heat of the sun on her arms, the dizziness caused by watching a record spinning on a turntable.
This is one of those books that (as I probably say too often) you will want to read slowly and savor, yet at the same time rush through to learn what happens. And what happens does not disappoint, save to signal the end of our time with Maggie.
*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me an e-galley of the book for review purposes.