Review: Undercover investigation goes awry in ‘Gated Prey’

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This cover image released by Thomas & Mercer shows “Gated Prey” by Lee Goldberg. (Thomas & Mercer via AP)

“Gated Prey” by Lee Goldberg (Thomas & Mercer)

A string of home invasions have Los Angeles County’s rich and famous on edge, so the sheriff’s department sets up an undercover investigation to put an end to it.

However, things don’t go as planned in “Gated Prey,” Lee Goldberg’s third mystery novel featuring Los Angeles County Detective Eve Ronin.

Posing as trophy wife and wealthy husband, Ronin and her close-to-retirement partner Duncan Pavone set up housekeeping in a gated community, make themselves tempting targets, and wait for trouble. It comes when three armed men force their way in.

That’s when backup is supposed to swoop in, but it fails to arrive, leaving the detectives on their own. The result: Pavone gets roughed up and three bad guys end up dead.

Backup didn’t show, the detectives argue, because their colleagues hate Ronin for previously exposing corruption in the department. But their superiors don’t want to hear it. Meanwhile, the home invasion case is declared closed even though Ronin suspects it is part of a larger conspiracy.

As if that weren’t trouble enough, an apparent medical emergency the two detectives are asked to review turns out to involve a hideous crime.

Meanwhile, Ronin, who just wants to be a good detective, has to figure out what to do about Hollywood agents and producers who are turning her life into a TV show. The result is another suspenseful, fast-paced yarn with engaging characters.

In addition to being a novelist, Goldberg has written and produced scores of TV shows, which leads one to wonder if we may eventually be treated to a TV show about Los Angeles detective whose life is being turned into a TV show.

Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”

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