Jasmine Trade Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
When a young Chinese bride-to-be is found dead at the wheel of her Lexus at the start of this solid debut thriller, plucky Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond's compulsive curiosity and professional instinct for good copy lead her into the unfamiliar and intersecting worlds of Asian gangs and Southern California's "parachute kids," wealthy Asian teens living unsupervised in San Marino mansions while their parents manage businesses on the other side of the Pacific. By quickly befriending a parachute kid "dancing with the dragon" of gang membership and just as swiftly falling in love with Mark Furukawa, a counselor for troubled teens, Eve ensures herself a role in the investigation that is both complicated and personal. Add in the murdered girl's secret diary, her shady fianc, a corrupt bank, a racist cop and the "jasmine trade" (smuggling girls out of Chinese provinces and forcing them into prostitution), and it's not surprising that Eve's entanglement in the case becomes life threatening. First-time novelist Hamilton, herself a former L.A. Times scribe, might be accused of "dancing with the dragon" of common mystery novel tropes, but she, unlike many of her characters, escapes essentially unscathed. In addition to a gripping story and keen observations about contemporary Los Angeles, she also offers an undeniably winning narrator: intelligent, impulsive Eve is sharp on the outside and vulnerable on the inside, willing to cogitate with equal intensity on issues private (a lost love, a dead brother) and public (racial and socioeconomic politics, "the media's scorching glare"). And Hamilton hints, ever so gently, that her heroine might return.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Journalist Eve Diamond knows the problems of contemporary teens, having reported on them for the Los Angeles Times. But when she follows up on a story about 17-year-old Marina Chang, found murdered in her car, she runs across a term she's never heard before: "parachute kids." With a little digging and some help from a good-looking social worker, she learns about a disturbing teen subculture: rich Asian immigrant kids who are living virtually on their own while their parents remain in China or elsewhere to run the family business. Of course, it's too late to save Marina, but Eve is determined to do her best to save another "parachute kid" at risk. This is Hamilton's first novel, and it shows a little: everything comes together too easily in the end, and the climax seems stagey and overplayed, like a gunfight in an old western movie. What does work--and work very well--is the author's thoughtful, eye-opening look at a new version of a destructive, ongoing social evil: kids joining gangs to find family. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Debut novelist Denise Hamilton first wrote about Los Angeles' Chinese community (and the parachute kids) during her other career as a journalist for the "Los Angeles Times." There she uncovered this inner world of California's Asian Southland, all but unknown to most of the city's millions of inhabitants. She uses her skills as an investigator and writer to excellent effect, producing a work that is both compellingly readable and factually accurate. Hamilton's real-to-life characters keep the reader's eyes fixed on the page as she leads us through a mystery that is both compelling and heart-breaking.
I somehow missed this book when it was published last year, despite the fact that it received rave reviews from such gifted writers as Michael Connelly and Thomas Perry. Don't make the same mistake! Buy "The Jasmine Trade" and read it today. It was one of the best mysteries of 2001.
Reviewed by David Montgomery, MysteryInkOnline.com
The story opens with the murder of 17-year old Marina Lu at the wheel of her Lexus, an apparent car jacking gone wrong in a mall parking lot. She has been shopping for her ten bridesmaids gowns. Enter Eve Diamond, an L.A. Times reporter, who catches the story. Eve is a fully realized character, a total professional on the job and very vulnerable in other areas. Her well-developed libido is somewhat alarming, for she is nothing if not impulsive. She follows the trail by fits and starts getting to know and appreciate Marina's friends, a dedicated youth counselor that may or may not be a love interest, and running into some high and hard rollers in the Asian community. Unfortunately, the story peaks prematurely and the last quarter of the book is spent tying up loose ends.
Ms. Hamilton gives us a crackerjack portrait of the life of a newspaper reporter. She clearly knows the ins and outs of the trade. She draws an excellent picture of an almost 30-something woman and how she lives and dreams. Eve has an excellent sense of humor and is too imaginative by half.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The writing is good, the background is interesting but the main character is an ass. She manages to get almost everyone (and a animal) she comes in contact with beat up, murdered... Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004
This is not a good book-it is not even average. The female protagonist is a trite, tired stereotype and the plot does not hold together logically. Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2002
I did not think that The Jasmine Trade was very good, especially when compared to other new thrillers, like The Stone Monkey, by Jeffery Deaver. Read morePublished on June 11 2002 by Kate B.
"The Jasmine Trade" is a suspense mystery written with a lot of depth by Denise Hamilton. It's about parachute kids in the San Gabriel Valley. Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2001 by M. Lazar
I enjoyed this book. I am a huge mystery fan, especially mysteries like this one. Denise Hamilton is a fine story teller, and she captures the multicultural aspects of southern... Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2001 by Margarita Sanchez
"The Jasmine Trade" by Denise Hamilton is a wonderfully engaging and readable first novel that introduces you to the twilight world of the disenfranchised rich teenage... Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2001 by tregatt
"In addition to a gripping story and keen observations about contemporary Los Angeles, [Hamilton] also offers an undeniably winning narrator:... Read more
As a Southern California-based crime fiction author of a mystery series set against multicultural backdrops, I was quite impressed with THE JASMINE TRADE. Read morePublished on July 31 2001 by Kent Braithwaite