Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective Eve Ronin and her soon-to-retire partner, Duncan Pavone, are running a 24-7 sting in a guard-gated enclave of palatial homes in Calabasas. Their luxury McMansion is a honey trap, set to lure in the violent home invaders terrorizing the community. The trap works, leaving three intruders dead, a body count that nearly includes Eve and Duncan.
Eve’s bosses are eager to declare the case closed, but there are too many unanswered questions for her to let go. Was the trap actually for her, bloody payback for Eve’s very public takedown of a clique of corrupt deputies? Or is there an even deadlier secret lurking behind those opulent gates? Eve’s refusal to back down and her relentless quest for the truth make her both the hunter…and the prey.
I love this series. The Eve Ronin books are an easy, entertaining read that manages to feel real without being depressing and to be fun without being cosy. ‘Gated Prey’ is the third book in this four-book series and carries on from the events in ‘Lost Hills’ and ‘Bone Canyon’. I liked that the books build on one another but Lee Goldberg only does the minimum, of recapping, enough to remind me of what I should already know without making me wade through backstory.
I was immersed in ‘Gated Prey’ from the beginning. Of course, the fact that it starts with a home invasion, a car-jacking, a car chase, a shooting at a shopping mall and three fatalities did help with that. Yet, despite all the drama, it was the combination of wry humour at the expense of life as it’s lived in the rich small towns on the borders of Los Angeles and Eve Ronin’s unbending, serious attitude towards her job that made the biggest impression on me.
I liked how the relationship between Eve and her only-a-few-weeks-from-retirement partner Duncan Pavone, is developing. There were no flashy demonstrations of emotion but the chemistry between the two of them was clear and credible. One of the ways this was demonstrated was that Eve felt relaxed working undercover with Duncan as the older, overweight, walker-using rich guy and Eve as his mid-life crisis wife, dressed to please his eye. It’s so far away from who the two of them are and how they feel about each other that it made me smile.
Lee Goldberg keeps the plot moving along at a good pace, punctuating the solution to the mystery with advancing Eve’s personal story as she is pushed into agreeing to turn her life story into television so she can pay for legal representation to deal with the fall out from her actions in the first two books.
‘Gated Prey’ has Eve and Duncan working two cases, a home invasion and a dead newly born baby. At first, I thought the home invasion was the main act and the baby was a subplot but both ended up getting equal billing and together, they had a lot to say about the people who choose to live in gated communities and the people they pay to serve them.
By about halfway through the book, I thought I knew who was behind the home invasion. Oddly, perhaps, that made me feel smug about my own cleverness rather than irritated by the transparency of the plot. Plus, I was only fairly sure. I could still have been wrong and even if I was right (I was), I wanted to see how Eve Ronin worked it out.
The dead newborn plot caught me completely by surprise and kept me turning the pages. It was easier to see the direction of travel for the home invasion plot but I was still caught by surprise at how it escalated into fairly spectacular violence.
I had such a good time with ‘Gated Prey’ that I’ve decided to make the last book in the series, ‘Movieland’ one of my next reads.
6 thoughts on “‘Gated Prey’ – Eve Ronin #3 by Lee Goldberg”
Movieland’s not the last, just the most recent. Goldberg’s got a stand alone coming soon, but has talked about Eve #5 being in progress, too. (phew!)
Thank you. That’s good to know. I’d be happy to have more of this series. He’s a prolific writer isn’t he? While I’m waiting, I’m going to take a look at the books that he co-authoered with Janet Evanovitch.
That series is great (the Evanovich/Goldberg ones, anyway). Also, be sure to check out his Ian Ludow series, starting with True Fiction.
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Thank you so much for the terrific review of GATED PREY… and the series. I hope you will consider posting it on the Amazon product page for GATED PREY. The fifth Eve Ronin novel is completed and should be out in early 2024. Two other standalone novels of mine are coming out first — MALIBU BURNING, set in the same universe as Eve (and during the events of LOST HILLS), in June and CALICO, a crime novel set in the Mojave desert, in November. In the meantime, you might enjoy my prior novels KING CITY, WATCH ME DIE or THE WALK.
I’ve added the review to Amazon (assuming that they don’t edit it).
I’m reading Movieland now and having fun with it. I’m glad that it’s not the last Eve Ronin book.
I have King City on my shelves already and I’ll watch out for the others.