cover image Trail of Echoes

Trail of Echoes

Rachel Howzell Hall. Forge, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8117-0

When the body of 13-year-old Chanita Lords turns up in a duffel bag in a park early in Hall’s suspenseful third mystery featuring LAPD homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton (after 2015’s Skies of Ash), Lou and her partner, Colin Taggart, initially focus on a sex offender who’s a neighbor of the victim in the housing projects, but it’s soon obvious things are not quite what they seem. In the sprawling Los Angeles cityscape, racial tensions still run deep, and the dogged Lou, who grew up in the same projects as Chanita, is careful never to forget where she was raised and how far she’s come. She’s also witty, and the banter between her and Colin brings some welcome levity to the dark deeds they’re investigating. Meanwhile, recently divorced Lou is getting used to being single, and her father, who left her when she was a kid, reenters her life. Readers weary of the dour, pessimistic detectives so common to genre can relate to Lou. Those hungry for chills will be satisfied as the action builds to a surprising, terrifying climax. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (May)