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The Jasmine Trade    by Denise Hamilton order for
Jasmine Trade
by Denise Hamilton
Order:  USA  Can
Pinnacle, 2002 (2001)
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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Debut mystery writer Denise Hamilton applies her own background in journalism to create young LA reporter / investigator Eve Diamond. The story starts with Eve's coverage of the death (supposedly as part of a carjacking) of Marina Lu, a young Chinese American bride-to-be, who was shopping for bridesmaids' dresses at the time.

In the course of the investigation, Eve becomes involved with Mark Furukawa, a San Gabriel Valley counselor of troubled kids. Through him she meets 'parachute kids', teens getting educated and occupying empty mansions in LA while their parents continue living back in Hong Kong where they still have business interests. Eve's guilt about her younger brother's death (years before) involves her in the life of Tony, a parachute kid who has been enticed into a local gang.

As Eve's involvement with Tony intersects with her investigation of Marina's death, someone tries to kill her, and she finds a link to a brothel, whose young women have been illegally smuggled into the country from China - the 'Jasmine trade'. Though the mystery is competent, what I enjoyed most in The Jasmine Trade was the backdrop of Asian American culture and the journalist's perspective - which we shall see more of in Eve Diamond's second adventure, Sugar Skull, later in 2003.

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