Juniper Song

Created by Steph Cha

“I spent a lot of lonely years dreaming of Philip Marlowe instead of living my own life.”
— from Beware Beware

Scrappy smart ass JUNIPER SONG is a twenty-something Los Angeleno who comes from a relatively prosperous Korean family. And yet she wants to be a private detective, just like her childhood hero, Philip Marlowe. So much for being a Yale grad. She’s still learning the ropes, but eventually lands a gig at the Lindley & Flores agency in LA’s Koreatown district, in a series of novels by Steph Cha.

And boy, does she know her Chandler: here’s the opening of Juniper’s first novel,  Follow Her Home (2013):

It was about ten o’clock on a Friday in mid-July, the Los Angeles night warm and dry, the only wind rising from the whoosh and zoom of traffic on Rossmore. I was wearing a slinky black dress, black patent leather platform pumps, and a black lambskin clutch. I was perfumed, manicured, and impecably coiffed. I was everything a half-employed twentysomething should be on the sober end of a Friday night. I was calling on an open bar at Luke’s new apartment, ready to spend a little time and respectability on a blurry and colorful evening. 

If the rhythm and the tone don’t seem familiar, boy, do you have a lot of reading to catch up on.

The author makes her home in Los Angeles, and it shows — Juniper’s a nice mix of Veronica Mars and Kinsey Millhone, but it’s her audacious deep dive into the always turbulent, always fluid multicultural swamp (Armenians! Asians! Movie people!) of the City of Angels, reminescent of Walter Mosley or John Shannon’s Jack Liffey, that makes this series not just significant, but also one to watch.


  • “(This) groundbreaking series by Cha is at once an ode to Chandler as much as it focuses on the needs of women, racial minorities, intense personal and world issues, and what it means to survive again and again…. Cha’s private investigator is a woman who makes tough decisions, learns to lead a hard, lonely, and oftentimes frightening life, and values the loved ones she holds dear, all while remaining noir to the bone.”
    — BookRiot (April 2019)
  • “Cha brings the Korean communities in L.A. alive while creating a fantastic noir heroine who sees the world as it is: always with a little bit of a dark stain.”
    — Novel Suspects
  • “Stephanie Cha’s brilliant debut is as Noir as Old Nick’s sense of humour. Compelling from first to last page, she takes on contemporary L.A., sweeping the reader through Chandler’s twilight, heartbroken city from mansions to faux K-town hostess bars. L.A. Noir at its finest.”
    — Denise Mina on Follow Her Home


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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