Novelist Denise Hamilton rides the bestseller charts with dark and personal ‘Damage Control’
By Carl Kozlowski 09/15/2011
As an LA Times reporter, Denise Hamilton had a knack for digging up some of the most unusual stories in Los Angeles. In her current career as a crime novelist, she applied her writing skills to craft a string of critically acclaimed national bestsellers centered around a Times reporter named Eve Diamond before taking a turn into noir fiction with her 2008 novel “The Last Embrace” and as the editor of two successful editions of “Los Angeles Noir” short-story collections.
But as a lifelong resident of the City of Angels, Hamilton has seen plenty of dark moments occur, even in some of the city’s most beautiful places. For her latest novel, a stand-alone thriller called “Damage Control,” Hamilton dug deep into her memories of beach parties gone wild as the launching point for the tale of Maggie Silver, a PR whiz who finds that her latest client, Sen. Henry Paxton, is not just a government official looking for a way to spin the fact that his cute, young female aide has been found dead in his office. He’s also the father of Maggie’s long-estranged best friend from high school. And that fact forces Maggie to confront the darkest secrets of her life while discovering that everyone around her has plenty of their own.
“I grew up in LA and spent a lot of time on the beach, going to parties in my teens, during college and in my 20s,” says Hamilton, speaking by phone from her Glendale home. “It’s beautiful with beautiful bodies, but to me there’s a dark side to that world of endless summer and the cult of the body and the idea that you could lose yourself in that and 20 years later you’re an alcoholic and a drug addict and have skin cancer and life has passed you by. We export the glamour of beach life to the world, but when you listen to the Beach Boys there’s a lot of dark stuff in the lyrics, and that’s what this book is really about.”
Denise Hamilton will discuss and sign “Damage Control” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 549-9420 or visit vromans.com.