cover image These Women

These Women

Ivy Pochoda. Ecco, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-265638-4

Fish shack owner Dorian Williams, one of several working-class women at the center of this heartbreaking novel, has done little to fill the void in her life in the 15 years since her teenage daughter, Lecia, was murdered in 1999—the 13th and presumed final victim of a serial killer who was never caught. Then one evening, near her fish shack in South Central L.A., a woman’s body is dumped exactly as Lecia was, throat slit and a plastic bag over her face. Without sacrificing narrative drive, Pochoda (Wonder Valley) lets her story unfold organically and impressionistically, through the eyes of her distinctive female characters, who include Julianna, now a hard-partying cocktail waitress but once the child Lecia babysat the night she died; undersized Hispanic LAPD detective Essie, who knows all too well what it’s like not to be taken seriously; and former hooker Feelia, left for dead back in 1999 after Lecia’s murder, whose potentially critical information the police repeatedly ignore. This deep dive into the lives of women too often unseen in the shadows makes them vividly unforgettable. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, Inkwell Literary Management. (May)