cover image No Second Chances

No Second Chances

Rio Youers. Morrow, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-300105-3

Kitty Rae, the 24-year-old protagonist of this uneven crime novel from Youers (Lola on Fire), moved to L.A. from Kentucky to become an actor. Four months later, that hasn’t happened, and Rae supports herself delivering crystal meth. Her fortunes change after she saves her neighbor, former movie star Luke Kingsley, from gassing himself to death in his garage. Luke’s career has been on the skids since his wife, Lisa Hayes, vanished three years earlier. The police—and the general public—are convinced Luke murdered Lisa and hid the corpse. Luke helps land an agent for Rae, who believes his claims of innocence. Meanwhile, Rae must evade the violent wrath of a sadistic narcotics trafficker, who suspects Rae has ripped him off. A nicely complex lead and some welcome doses of humor—a B-list actor jokes that his tombstone will include the phrase “Also Starring”—compensate only in part for a familiar plot that builds to a predictable climax. Hopefully, this talented author will return to form next time. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Feb.)