4 star rating
Murder on Bamboo Lane
An Officer Ellie Rush Mystery, Book #1
By Naomi Hirahara
ISBN#  9780425264959)
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


murder-on-bamboo-lane-naomi-hiraharaTrouble awaits rookie LAPD Officer Ellie Rush as she patrols the mean streets of Los Angeles on her bicycle…

Bike cop Ellie Rush dreams of becoming a homicide detective, but it’s still a shock when the first dead body she encounters on the job is that of a former college classmate.

At the behest of her Aunt Cheryl, the highest-ranking Asian-American officer in the LAPD (a source of pride for Ellie’s grandmother, but annoyance to her mom), Ellie becomes tangled in the investigation of the coed’s murder—with equal parts help and hindrance from her nosy best friend, her over-involved ex-boyfriend, a smoldering detective, and seemingly everyone else in her extended family only to uncover secrets that a killer may go to any lengths to ensure stay hidden.


Naomi Hirahara takes the reader on a wild ride through Los Angeles with LAPD bike cop Ellie Rush. When one of her college classmates ends up on a missing flyer Ellie can not help but be involved. After the same girl, Jenny, ends up dead, Ellie can not just pedal her bike as if nothing has happened. Her aunt Cheryl Toma, LAPD’s highest ranking Asian American officer, pulls Ellie even further into the investigation. Although Ellie does not know the basis for this, she has to keep asking questions until she is on temporary assignment to investigate the murder.

Ellie is joined in the hunt by handsome lead detective Cortez Williams. Her best friend Nay even helps out. Unfortunately Ellie’s ex Sebastian seems involved in the case from the beginning. The Fearsome Foursome (Ellie, Nay, ex Sebastian and friend Rickie) have their friendship tested as Ellie and Cortez follow the leads.

The murder seems pretty straight forward at first. The ex boyfriend (Tuan) of Jenny seems like a good suspect. He has a temper, is involved in some radical politics in the area and it appears Jenny had not been faithful. But what appears to be a murder of passion soon takes on a life of its own and reveals another possible murder. Although that is not in their jurisdiction, it has an even more sinister motive.  As Ellie and Cortez search for clues things become clouded, was Jenny’s murder some how connected to her work as a census taker in a bad part of town. Or her mother’s murder in Vietnam. As conflicting stories of what Jenny really wanted in life are revealed, who she was deep down, things get even more complicated.

Murder on Bamboo Lane opens up a world I am not familiar with for the most part. We are visitors to parts of L.A. I have never even heard of. The world of politics, social angst, societal differences are all wonderfully described so the reader does not feel them to be as foreign as they are. Ellie is of mixed racial heritage as are several characters in the book. The reader gets an inside view of her family life as we meet Ellis’s clan. Grandmother Toma is a fun character. And Ellie’s mother, father and brother are quite interesting as well. The reader meets several characters and they all seem to come to life under the flowing writing style of Ms Hirahara.

This book plays out like a well written detective show or movies. The characters, mystery and conclusion are all neatly tied up after taking the reader on a wild ride. It is intense, yet playful at times. Those that enjoy a good murder mystery or entertaining cop show will thoroughly enjoy this book. The descriptive writing helps to set up every scene in your mind.  This is a very enjoyable read.  This is a wonderful first mystery in a very promising new series.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for giving us a print copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*