Book Review: Murder on Bamboo Lane, Naomi Hirahara

Book Review: Murder on Bamboo Lane, An Ellie Rush Mystery Book 1, Naomi Hirahara

 

Murder on Bamboo Lane, Naomi Hirahara

Mystery: Murder on Bamboo Lane, An Ellie Rush Mystery Book 1, Naomi Hirahara

 

Ellie Rush has wanted to be a homicide detective ever since she accompanied her aunt, a high ranking officer in the LAPD, to “bring your daughter to work day” when she was a child. After graduating college in three years and going into the police academy, her dream has finally come true.

 

Well, not exactly. You don’t start as a rookie in homicide. You get assigned to some other beat. Like bicycle cop.

 

Still, Rush knows it is important to do her job well so she works hard at it. She is young, enthusiastic, and eager to impress. She especially wants to impress her aunt, the woman she has idolized for most of her life. And when a body is found near Ellie’s beat, she can’t help but go to the crime scene.

 

It is one thing to study homicides at the police academy. It is very, very different when the victim is a former classmate of yours from college.

 

Murder on Bamboo Lane is driven by a very dynamic young protagonist. Ellie Rush narrates the entire novel from her perspective. We meet her friends: the group she has hung out with since they were all freshmen. We meet her family: her caucasian father who attends a Japanese Catholic church, her Japanese-American mother who works hard to be all American, her grandmothers from each side, and of course her aunt.

 

Rush is iconically LA. She is biracial, athletic, speaks Spanish, and moves from neighborhood to neighborhood with awareness and appreciation. One of the things I love about big cities is how the neighborhoods become little cities of their own. I will always treasure driving down the street in the Koreatown section of LA and seeing a business with its name written in large Korean characters. Below it there was a translation–in Spanish. That amalgamation of cultures is epitomized in this young, brash, energetic bicycle cop who finds that homicide is not as easy to solve on the streets as it is on TV.

 

Naomi Hirahara writes with energy and flair. She has found the voice of a young Angeleno and uses it with authenticity. And she sends her through an LA that is as vibrant and diverse and delightful as I remember from my time living there 30 years ago. This is a delightful book.

 

Murder on Bamboo Lane, Naomi Hirahara

Book Review: Murder on Bamboo Lane, An Ellie Rush Mystery Book 1, Naomi Hirahara

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