cover image Gathering Dark

Gathering Dark

Candice Fox. Forge, $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-31763-6

Early in this superior crime novel from Ned Kelly Award–winner Fox (Hades), Blair Harbour chooses not to report the battered, distraught teenage girl who robbed the L.A. gas station where Blair works and stole her car. Recently paroled after a murder conviction, Blair feels sympathy for the poor kid. The next day, Blair’s former cellmate, Sneak, shows up to beg for help in finding her missing daughter, who happens to be the young thief. Meanwhile, Det. Jessica Sanchez becomes a pariah in the LAPD after a grateful citizen bequeaths her a Brentwood mansion for outstanding performance. Blair and Sneak’s quest brings them into the orbit of Ada Maverick, a stone-cold crime boss who’s willing to help them in their search for her own reasons, just as Jessica begins to realize that there was something hinky about the case that sent Blair to prison. Vividly drawn characters and striking individual scenes, such as Jessica’s visit to a dealer in murderabilia (killers’ personal artifacts) or Blair watching M13 gangsters happily play with her pet gopher, help make this brutal but ultimately hopeful tale of desperate women a standout. It deserves a wide audience. (Mar.)