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The Last Embrace by Denise Hamilton
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The Last Embrace (edition 2008)

by Denise Hamilton

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503233,859 (3.21)7
Member:hredwards
Title:The Last Embrace
Authors:Denise Hamilton
Info:Scribner (2008), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Mystery, noir

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The Last Embrace by Denise Hamilton

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Good noir story of Hollywood in the golden era. ( )
  hredwards | Jan 2, 2013 |
It’s 1947 in Hollywood, and a hot young starlet has disappeared. Before long, her body is discovered below the famous “Hollywood sign”. Everyone from the special effects guy on her last movie to the woman who runs the boarding house where she lives is suspect. Enter Lily Kessler, who would have married the girl’s brother if the War had not taken him. She is returning to Los Angeles from Europe, and has promised her dead fiance’s parents to try to find out what happened to their daughter. Having met the author at a recent book festival, and heard her describe this novel, I had hopes for an LA Confidential kind of tale. Even without those expectations, Last Embrace would have been a disappointment. The writing is mediocre at best, god-awful at worst. (Don’t ask about the sex scene. Thank goodness there was only one.) The characters and situations are either cliches or bizarre, with very little in between. Hamilton couldn't even decide whether her heroine was a tough, savvy graduate of a war-time intelligence office or a witless risk-taker. I understand the author has a background in crime journalism and has written a series featuring a female detective (Eve Diamond). Notwithstanding, this book has a very amateurish feel to it. The suspense doesn’t build, the plot doesn’t exist. If it had been a first novel, I might have seen some potential -- not a lot, mind you, but some. Coming after five earlier novels, it’s just inexplicable. The best part of the book is the author’s note at the end, where she describes the actual cold case that gave her the idea for this story. I don't recommend wasting time on this one; there is much better stuff out there. ( )
2 vote laytonwoman3rd | Oct 16, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743296737, Paperback)

Los Angeles 1949. A city of big dreams and dark shadows...

Lily Kessler, a former stenographer and spy for the OSS, comes to Los Angeles to find her late fiancé's sister Kitty, an actress who is missing from her Hollywood boardinghouse. The next day, Kitty's body is found in a ravine below the Hollywood sign. Unimpressed by the local police, Lily investigates on her own. As she delves into Kitty's life, she encounters fiercely competitive starlets, gangsters, an eccentric special-effects genius, exotic denizens of Hollywood's nightclubs, and a homicide detective who might distract her from her quest for justice. But the landscape in L.A. can shift kaleidoscopically, and Lily begins to see how easily a young woman can lose her balance and fall prey to the alluring city's dangers....

With vibrant characters and unerring insight into the desires and dark impulses that can flare between men and women, The Last Embrace showcases Denise Hamilton at the height of her storytelling powers as she transports readers to a fascinating, transitional time in one of America's most beguiling cities.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:33 -0400)

In 1949 Los Angeles, Lily Kessler, a former stenographer and spy for the OSS, is asked by her late fiance's mother to find out what happened to his sister Kitty, an actress who is missing from her Hollywood boardinghouse. Although the aspiring starlets at the house insist that Kitty is off somewhere furthering her career, her body is found the next day in a ravine below the Hollywood sign. Unimpressed by the local police, Lily investigates on her own.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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