Saturday, January 6, 2024

Dream Town

Dream Town by Lee Goldberg
1/16/24; 300 pages
Thomas & Mercer
Eve Ronin #5

Dream Town by Lee Goldberg is a highly recommended procedural and the fifth book in the Eve Ronin series.

Eve Ronin, the youngest homicide detective in the history of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and her partner Duncan "Donuts" Pavone are sent to investigate human remains discovered by a dog walker in the Ahmanson Preserve. While there they are called to the Winslow resident in the nearby gated community of Hidden Hills where reality superstar Kitty Winslow is found murdered and robbed of her huge engagement ring, which she was just showing off on social media. Kitty and her family star in the reality series Life with the Winslows. At the Winslow's longtime Hidden Hills marshal Deputy Amos Tatum inserts himself into the investigation.

While this is going on,  Eve's estranged father, Director Vince Nyby, is filming a TV show based on her cases. Her mother wants Eve to play nice so her role will increase. The other officers in the Lost Hills office of the LASD are hating the disruption to their routines and the whole show leaves Eve with an odd feeling of disassociation while watching an actor play out her life.

The writing is very good and witty, the pace is quick, and the narrative flows so smoothly that you'll find yourself immediately pulled in until you are totally absorbed in the novel. Several of the plot elements are very much based on reality and effortlessly written into the story. The setting of Hidden Hills, a real gated community, plays a major role in the story and the mix of different characters is intriguing.

There are some mysteries that readers will deduce and other twists that are surprising. At about the half way point, the novel became much more interesting as some of the new developments and twists in the case begin to enter the plot. Additionally, there is a great deal of humor in the writing. This is an entertaining, very good procedural. Goldberg's background in the entertainment industry clearly shines through.

There is no doubt that Eve is a character worthy of a TV show. She is determined, intelligent, and intuitive as she tirelessly works the case. The relationship and interplay between Eve and Duncan is believable. Hopefully there will be more interaction professionally with Eve's boyfriend, forensic anthropologist Dr. Daniel Brooks - unless I missed previous interaction. This is my first Eve Ronin novel and I felt it worked well as a stand-alone novel but I'm also sure there was more backstory and character development provided in the four previous novels leading up to Dream Town. This is a series that might be best read through from the start

Disclosure: My complimentary review copy was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley.

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