SinC25: Denise Hamilton, #1 post of expert challenge

Having completed the Sisters in Crime book bloggers’ moderate challenge, I am now embarking on the expert level:

write ten blog posts about works of crime fiction by women authors. For each, mention three similar women authors whose works you would recommend.

Denise Hamilton is the female author who most nearly made it onto David Montgomery’s “top ten” detective novels list. I enjoyed her first novel, The Jasmine Trade, upon its initial UK publication as part of an Orion “new authors” promotion. Eve Diamond, an investigative journalist with the LA Times, struggles to make and keep a career in a city hypersensitive to ethnic and ethical tensions, and is as determined as hell to get to the bottom of things. The plot and outcome of The Jasmine Trade was original and moving– all in all a great debut.

Although I enjoyed subsequent Eva Diamond novels (Sugar Skull and Last Lullaby), by the fourth, Savage Garden, I felt the series was becoming a bit formulaic and have not read any more of the author’s books since then (2006). Checking out the author’s website to see what she’s published since Savage Garden, she has written another Eve Diamond novel, Prisoner of Memory; edited two short-story collections (LA Noir and LA Noir 2); written another standalone novel, The Last Embrace, set in Los Angeles again but in 1949; and, most recently, written a novel called Damage Control, “murder and scandal in a wealthy political family” in southern California.

I’m quite keen to try Damage Control, but in nominating the required three other authors writing similar novels, I’m going to stick to the journalism theme because I’ve only read the Eve Diamond (journalism) novels by Denise Hamilton so can’t compare any of the others to anyone.

Mari Jungstedt: Swedish novels set on the island of Gotland, TV journalist Johan Berg investigates crimes in parallel to the police and usually collaborates with them to share knowledge and hence find the solution. He has an on-off-on relationship with Emma, a local schoolteacher.

Elaine Viets wrote four novels about New Orleans journalist Francesca Vierling between 1997 and 2000. As well as being witty investigations of crimes, they offer clever insights into the ethics and management of newspaper publishing, as well as a window into the world of the “rehabbers” of pre-Katrina New Orleans. Highly recommended if you like brisk, humorous books with a bite. (Viets has more recently focused on her Mystery Shopper and Dead End Job series, which are very “pink”.)

Liza Marklund is author of one of my top favourite series, about Swedish newspaper journalist Annika Bengztrom. Annika exposes a range of crimes including conspiracies among the political elite and the trafficking of young women, as well as dealing with a complicated personal life.

My previous posts in the SinC25 challenge.

The Sisters in Crime 25th anniversary challenge.