cover image Real Easy

Real Easy

Marie Rutkoski. Holt, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-78824-5

YA and children’s author Rutkoski (The Kronos Chronicles) makes her adult debut with a haunting crime novel. Victor Amador, a police detective in an unnamed state, is hoping for a quiet overtime shift when he gets a call to investigate a report of an abandoned car in a ditch. When he responds, he finds blood and, eventually, the corpse of a woman who worked at a nearby strip club. The exact cause of death isn’t immediately clear, but the coroner finds date-rape drugs in the woman’s system, and the figure of a crown was carved into the sole of one foot. Amador investigates, with the help of colleague Holly Meylin, who is still traumatized by her infant’s accidental death due to her ex-husband’s negligence. Rutkoski uses the familiar plot of a police search for a killer targeting women to paint moving portraits of desperate lives on both sides of the law. She’s especially good at making the strippers more than clichés. Fans of psychologically rich thrillers will hope for more from Rutkoski. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Jan.)