Dream Town, a review by Joanna

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Dream Town
Lee Goldberg

300 pages
Thomas & Mercer
January 16th, 2024

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This is the fifth book in the Eve Ronin crime fiction series, about a young LA county Sheriff’s Department detective, whose online fame after an incident with a movie star kickstarted her career in homicide – but has caused her trouble ever since. I’ve read them all in order, which is helpful but not essential,  as each book is a separate mystery and you do get enough backstory to know who’s who. These are enjoyable police procedurals about murder in the world of the celebrity super-rich, with plenty of humour, and a feisty heroine and her affable older partner Duncan battling the politicians both inside and outside their department to see justice served.

The bodies of three Latin American men have been found buried in a reserve just outside Hidden Hills, a gated community for wealthy Hollywood stars, and Eve’s new boyfriend Daniel, the team’s forensic anthropologist, finds evidence suggesting they could be members of a Chilean robbery crew. Then a young reality TV star is brutally murdered the night after announcing her engagement on social media – and flashing an expensive ring which has been stolen. Meanwhile Eve is grappling with the fact that her life is being turned into a TV show – and everyone except her wants to maximise her celebrity status.
This was another well plotted and fast paced murder mystery very much in the style of the Harry Bosch novels, which I love (he is referenced so it’s not a coincidence, and the similarities come across as tribute more than copycat writing so I see this as a positive.) The author has a background in TV and is not afraid to skewer the typical tropes and characters of that world. This features a repugnant media-obsessed family very like the Kardashians (I hasten to add I have never watched a moment of that show, but you can’t avoid hearing about them constantly!) who are more than happy to share their grief with the world, if it will boost the popularity of their show.
I really like this series and hope that someone will turn Ronin into a TV show for real sometime – but in the meantime am happy to keep reading about her adventures. Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the ARC.

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