Imagine a house filled with blood covering the floors, the furniture, clothes and even the bathroom plus footprints, cleaning supplies and evidence that three murders and possibly a fourth took place. After taking down an action movie star that abused his girlfriend, Eve Ronin, much to the resent of her new partner and other detectives in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department, is now the lead on what appears to be a homicide. After she and her overweight and soon to retire partner, Duncan Pavone, manage to get another team to take a borderline killing, that really belongs to them, they respond to a call from a neighbor of someone hoping to be the next female Oscar winner, who’s a waitress and hopeful star, Tanya Kenworth . But what she finds at the scene is a home filled with blood and Tanya and her two children and their dog are missing.
This house is in Topanga and the search is on in the woods, but someone wants her stopped even before she gets started. She’s jumped by what appears to be some type of monster and is knocked out and cannot identity the attacker. The head of the crime scene unit is tough, hardnosed and resents Eve’s questions, knowledge and presence at times. She explains that there is plenty of evidence that the three were killed in this house. They were dismembered and removed but where are the bodies and who committed the murders? Tanya was living with her boyfriend that wanted her out and evidence points that he abused her and her children, but did he want them dead? Her ex-husband Cleve was hours away in Merced, when they disappeared. Jared Rawlings her boyfriend, was at work and then with someone. Eve is relentless and works feverishly and nonstop to prove her self-worth and solve the case . Her goal is not to impress anyone but to be hardnosed, ruthless and tough. But every step of the way she faces criticism and even her own mother complains about her poor appearance on television during an interview. She is the clear investigator and her appearance matters little to her.
Things take on an unusual turn when Eve returns to the crime scene and a simple bag of cleaning supplies and its possible owner changes the direction of the case and they think they have a suspect. Filled with slashed throats, dissected victims and tons of blood, the killings leave readers seeing the gruesome scenes firsthand and Eve is going to need to use everything she can and more to piece it together.
Eve is strong, professional and yet prone to emotional outbursts and is determined to prove she belongs in Robbery/Homicide. Added in her partner does leave it mostly to her but the crux of the investigation or the warrant the geeks will hold better and get done if he walks it in to get it to the ADA and a judge.
Eve is smart but obstacles block her way, her mother’s critics are often hard to swallow, and she’s enthralled with this case because maybe it will be a made for TV movie.
One phone call and serious surveillance and she has a name and a possible suspect, Lionel Coyle. Evidence points to him with what was bought at Walmart and in the bag, she finds at the crime scene and his car, the logo and picture of his company and certain other items. But, is he the killer?
The investigation moves forward and yet Eve seems unsure if she has enough to prosecute and get a conviction. Going without sleep and relentless to find the answers she needs being tired might make her miss something important. Her mother’s critique of her appearance and her press conference does not exactly give her the support she needs. But, in the end will she solve the case or will the department think she was the wrong person for the task and put her in a different unit?
The evidence was there, the crime scene photographed and processed yet Eve went back one time and then something within her snapped and she realized that the three murders happened but someone else was gone and someone might be alive. Hoping to convince the higherups that Coyle did commit the murders but that there might be a chance that she could save someone alive, left her in deep trouble when she refused to follow orders. A house that was burning because someone could not stand what happened there and a killer so sure of himself, he never thought he might be taken down.
An ending that only author Lee Goldberg could create with evidence so graphically described, the link to the murder that Eve and Duncan handed to another department and the fact that her powers of perception helped her to realize mistakes are made but will she be able to rectify them or will it be too late. Just when you think you have heard it all Eve creates her own Adrian Monk moment when she states here’s what happened to her bosses and Duncan. Things take a dangerous turn and she risks her life to prove she is right but what will the result be? Eve Ronin is a strong willed, hardnosed detective that will stop at nothing to get the job done even risking her own life but is it worth it? Her partner has 160 more days before he retires so let’s hope author Lee Goldberg brings them back one more time to solve his final case with Eve. She is a character that needs to come back again as we come to the close of the Murder in Lost Hills.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews