Juniper Song has settled into her gig as an apprentice PI, and now she has a new case : a young woman named Daphne is looking for her boyfriend, Jamie, who’s working as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. This isn’t the first time Jamie’s gone missing, as he enjoys LA’s party and drug scene a little too much, so Juniper figures this will be an easy case. And she turns out to be right—Juniper locates Jamie easily, but along with him comes the murder of a Hollywood star Jamie’s been working for, and Jamie is the prime suspect. Daphne begs Song to take this new case, and Song agrees, not knowing how deep and twisted this case will become.
I read the first Juniper Song mystery when it was released, and I thought the premise and character had promise, but I had a few issues with Cha’s debut. Specifically, I loved the character of Song herself—that she was a devotee of Philip Marlowe, that she had some darkness in her own past, and that she had her own resourcefulness and an affinity for her new role. I also loved the noir feel of the book, as well as the cultural aspects, as Song is Korean American. But the plot had issues, and I’m happy to say that Cha has worked out those kinks in this second novel. I enjoyed this second escapade with Song. She’s smart and is quick to make connections, and the novel went in directions that I didn’t expect. Cha really has matured as a writer between these first and second books, and it shows. This novel is a strong installment in the Juniper Song series, and I look forward to seeing where the character goes next.
Other books by Steph Cha: