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The Jasmine Trade (Eve Diamond Mystery #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  330 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Everything was set. Seventeen-year-old Marina Lu had even ordered custom-made gowns for the ten bridesmaids who, in several months' time, would have preceded her down the aisle at her storybook wedding.
There isn't going to be a wedding. Marina lies dead, alone in her shiny status car in a suburban shopping center parking lot, her two-carat diamond engagement ring refract
Published (first published July 1st 2001)
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This book, written in 2001, is set in the new San Gabriel Valley "Chinatowns" of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and San Marino. It is a murder mystery set against the background of this burgeoning community.

The murder mystery was interesting but it is the background that I read the book for. I have lived most of my life in the San Gabriel, including in Alhambra, and have seen this community spring up like a mushroom out of nowhere.

I have been back to where I spent my very early years, ju
RATING: 3.75

A "parachute kid" is the child who lives in a family mansion in California while his or her wealthy parents live and work in Hong Kong. It's hard to imagine that such a thing goes on, but Denise Hamilton portrays the lifestyles of these lost and lonely children in a touching way in her debut novel, THE JASMINE TRADE. Generally, an adult is hired to look after them and manage the practical aspects of their lives. They return from school to an empty home and have very little guidance o
I liked this--a good solid mystery with a really interesting background story about "parachute kids" in L.A.. These are Asian kids whose parents buy houses in the best neighborhoods and send them to the best schools, but leave them largely unsupervised when the parents return to the home country (China, Hong Kong, etc.) to continue life and business as usual but leave the kids to get the best education. The result is that many of these kids fall in with the wrong crowd--interesting how some of t ...more
This review involves more than one Denise Hamilton novel.
I cannot say enough about the writing style of Denise Hamilton. She not only knows the streets of LA, she breathes life into them through her every written word. It's chilling to read her books. Denise has the skill of a fine surgeon, knowing just when and where to place the razor and how to cut to release that last shred of skin between our belief and disbelief. Her hand is quick and so adept we hardly know we've been "had" until it's ove
Mark Baker
A 17-year-old's death springboards reporter Eve Diamond into the culture of the parachute kids who come to America for an education. But who wanted to kill the teenage girl? The characters are great, however they are under served by a plot that wanders all over the place. I was done with it long before I reached the end.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
This book started out as your normal crime mystery story. But it quickly became a lot more. The subject became more about the parachute kids in the San Gabriel Valley who are sent to America for an education while their parents return to Hong Kong and Singapore to run their businesses. These children who have the best of everything and are privileged in every way but one, They have no warmth, no family, no connections here. They do have lot of pressure on them to maintain the highest level of gr ...more
Read this for one of my book clubs and enjoyed it. Not something I would have picked -- one of the reasons I love book clubs! An LA noir story set in the San Gabriel Valley in the 1990s - describing the "parachute kids" phenomenon (wealthy Asian teens living unsupervised in San Marino mansions while their parents manage businesses on the other side of the Pacific) and the "jasmine trade" (smuggling girls out of Chinese provinces and forcing them into prostitution).
This is a good first novel by the Los Angeles based crime novelist. The characters are well drawn, the plot moves briskly and the ending has an interesting twist. At times the level of suspense sags a little but overall this is a good page-turner.

The issue of 'parachute kids', foreign nationals left under loose guardianship in LA by wealthy parents working abroad, is explored in depth and adds another dimension to the novel. The plot is set in motion by the murder of one such person, the daught
Marge Rudman
In the context of crime genre, this is an interesting, well written page turner that pulls back the veil hiding serious issue in L.A.'s Asian community. An enjoyable read.
I like the writing style and personality of the narrator. She is an independent and determined chick with guts. Sure, she over-estimates her own judgement plenty of times, but it serves to make the story more believable. Also, I quite like her portrayal of Los Angeles. I haven't been there before, but I can really get a vivid sense of the ambiance.
I like how the protagonist strikes out on her own to really get into a story that has never really been covered in the mainstream media: "parachute k
It was really interesting to read about the parachute kids! I normally am not in to suspense or crime novels, but man, I like Eve Diamond. I only had two complaints: I hate when teens/youth don't have an authetic voice. Sometimes they'd sound like teens, but other times they would speak like how people past young adulthood think 13-20somethings talk. And 2nd, I don't want to spoil anything, but I didn't like Eve's deciscion nor the crappy hand she was dealt in the conclusion. But overall, given ...more
Poor, poor Bon Jovi. Why is it always the damn dog?
Denise Hamilton's book introduced me to the concept of "parachute kids." I had never heard of this before and found it both interesting and sad. The mystery is complex and there are a lot of twists and turns. I particularly liked the fact that the red herrings were not always the red herrings they seemed and the plot kept me guessing until the end. I will definitely read more of the series in the future.
If you like Kinsey Milhone, Skip Langdon or Willa Jansen then you will like Eve Diamond. However, I hate it when a writer gets to the end of a mystery and has the summing up moment and gets it wrong! Hey - you wrote the book, get the facts right! The Jasmine Trade has that moment, and it spoiled an otherwise good mystery for me. Maybe you won't notice it. (except now you'll be looking for it).
This novel could have been half as long and less boring if the author wasn't as detailed as she was. It dragged on. I don't really need to be told everything in every 'scene' in the book. Just enough for me to get my mental picture and continue on with the story. I don't need to know how the wind feels or how wet the pavement was in excruciating detail.
This was a good book, I had the pleasure of meeting Denise Hamilton at a book signing in Montclair, CA. She was very nice. As someone who studied journalism, Eve's actions are questionable as a reporter and she breaks several ethic rules, which I overlooked just for the story. I highly recommend this.
A 17 year old girl's murder chillingly introduces L.A. Times reporter Eve Diamond to a subculture of "parachute kids," the rich Asian teens who are left to their own devices in California while their parents live and work in Hong Kong. First in the series. Fascinating story and excellent writing.
Hamilton, Denise – 1st of Series
The first novel by this LA Times journalist is a compelling look at the world of modern-day Asian/American teens, gangs and introduces us to parachute children. It’s very well done. I do look forward to reading her second book.
I liked it...overall it was a good book. I thought I had it figured out and didn't...lots of twists. I didn't like the ending, it wrapped up a little bit too neatly with a whole "where are they now" type thing. But, I want to continue reading more of the series...
Schlocky dime-store noir stuff, but kinda interesting in that it's set primarily in the world of immigrant Asian kids and the central character is not only a journalist but a woman. Not a bad read for a plane ride.
It took me a while to get into her style of writing, but once I did the story had me hooked. At times it seemed a bit far fetched, but overall it was a good read. I'd definitely try another Eve Diamond story.
Judith Federico
This is the first in a series. I liked the protagonist and will probably read others but again it was a little depressing. I may have to read another Nora as an antidote to the last few I've read!
I hadn't read Denise Hamilton before, but once she led me into a culture in CA that I had no idea existed, I was hooked. She isn't what I call an "easy" read but is definitely an interesting read.
The book was really exciting, and had a real twist at the end. The part that got me the most is realizing that things talked about in the book really does happen.
I like Denise Hamilton's books. She takes her reader into places in life most of us will never visit or never want to visit outside of a fictional book.
Melanie Jacobson
Kind of an entertaining read. It's equivalent to any weekly TV cop procedural: good way to pass the time, not going to change your life. Not trying to, either.
1st in series with Eve Diamond - just did not enjoy the character so probably would not try another
Very gritty and realistic detective novel, with a believable heroine who makes plenty of mistakes.
Anupama Talwai
I'm just discovering Denise Hamilton n loved this book. Insightful,well written n engaging.
Quick, easy mystery book. First book by the author. I would definitely read more by her.
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Denise Hamilton is a Los Angeles-based writer-journalist whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wired, Cosmopolitan, Der Spiegel, and New Times. A reporter for the L.A. Times for ten years, she covered not only L.A. stories, but also the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and burgeoning youth movements in Japan. A Fulbright scholar, she taught in t ...more
More about Denise Hamilton...

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Eve Diamond Mystery (5 books)
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“I sauntered to the kitchen, where the lone pot of afternoon coffee had been reduced to thick black syrup. Glad that no one was around to watch, I filled a Styrofoam cup halfway with the molten matter, swished it, and sniffed. Nose of burning rubber, with light tar accents. I topped it off with Sparklett's, then nuked it. Kills the germs.” 0 likes
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