Eloise Norton (Lou) is an LAPD detective. She is married to a video game designer who cheats on her. She has a new partner who is a white boy from Colorado. They are called to the scene of a murder. A teenage girl has been found dad in a condominium complex under construction. The owner, Nappy Crase, was a suspect in the disappearance of Lou’s sister in 1988. Lou and her partner, Colin, are trying to wade through a gaggle of suspects to find out who killed the girl and why. Lou also wants to know if this girl’s murder is somehow connected to her sister’s disappearance.
Rachel Howzell Hall manages a complicated plot so well. This book kept me guessing until the end. I did not figure out the “who done it” part until the very end. And then, when I thought I had it figured out, something totally different happened. I don’t usually get fooled, but I did here – in a good way.
I really like Lou. She’s tough, but vulnerable. She is confident, but insecure. She is a real, three dimensional person. I not only liked, Lou, I liked the supporting characters as well. Her fellow cops, her mother, her husband, and her two best friends are well-written. Hall has a gift at writing people. She also has a gift at writing location. She, like Michael Connelly, Raymond Chandler, and James Ellroy, writes Los Angeles really well. You feel as though you can see the Jungle, the housing project where Lou grew up. You can see the condos where the victim is found. You can taste the salty ocean breeze near Lou’s house. That was a joy to read.
I was so taken with this book, that I immediately started Skies of Ash, the second in this series. I hope there is more to come from Rachel Howzell Hall because I really think I have found a new friend in Lou Norton.