cover image Stolen Things

Stolen Things

R.H. Herron. Dutton, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4490-8

At the start of the pseudonymous Herron’s riveting first novel, Laurie Ahmadi, a San Bernal, Calif., 911 police dispatcher, freaks at the sound of the caller’s voice—it’s unmistakably her 16-year-old daughter, Jojo. Within minutes, Laurie will have even greater cause for alarm when officers, including her husband, Omid, the San Bernal police chief, discover Jojo woozy and unable to walk in a mansion belonging to pro football player Kevin Leeds, a polarizing African-American activist—feet away from a murdered man. A lot more trouble follows, including the disappearance of Jojo’s friend Harper Cunningham, with whom Jojo went to a protest against police brutality earlier in the day of the 911 call. Readers will relate to Laurie and Jojo’s believably prickly relationship and the teen’s efforts to define herself as blue (a member of a police family), “half brown” (dad Omid is Persian), and, possibly, bisexual. Though the story is eventually swamped by a convoluted police corruption subplot, the fearless mother-daughter duo rates a return appearance. Herron, a former Bay Area 911 dispatcher, is definitely a writer to watch. [em]Agent: Susanna Einstein, Einstein Literary Management. (Aug.) [/em]