Denise Hamilton has written five detective novels about reporter Eve Diamond, who investigates crime in the local Latino, Asian, and Russian communities. This novels spring from a Los Angeles Times story she wrote about 'parachute kids' – wealthy Asian immigrant children who live alone in big homes while their parents remain in Asia taking care of family business. A Times editor asked Hamilton’s supervisor to fact-check the story because she found it hard to believe. This then became Hamilton's first novel, The Jasmine Trade, which became a bestseller.
Hamilton has also been a Fulbrighter in former Yugoslavia, which allowed her to travel in Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union during the waning days of Communism. She remains a columnist for the Times, reporting on scents and perfumes.
After the five novels in the Eve Diamond series, Hamilton wrote a stand alone (The Last Embrace, 2008) in the spirit of James Ellroy about the 1940s Hollywood disappearance of Jean Spangler, a starlet linked to L.A. gangster Mickey Cohen.