cover image Double Exposure

Double Exposure

Ava Barry. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-63936-224-0

Hollywood PI Rainey Hall, the narrator of this seductive neo-noir from Barry (Windhall), harbors a dangerously soft spot for certain vulnerable-seeming clients—especially ones as alluring as Melia van Aust. Four years after the notorious, never-solved attack at Melia’s wealthy family’s hillside home that left her parents butchered, Melia, now 22, approaches Rainey with what seems a simple request: find out who’s been sending her the increasingly threatening letters she fears might be coming from her fugitive younger brother, Jasper, who disappeared the night of the murders. It emerges there’s little straightforward about either the case or Melia herself—and that Rainey may be putting not only her heart but her life in jeopardy. Rainey’s clouded personal history, including both her past as a globe-trotting violin prodigy and the aching void left when her artist-mother vanished when she was 15, adds intrigue. And she has a gift for tossing off memorable lines such as the observation she remembers her late conductor-father once making: “Los Angeles is a place of dead poetry.” This evocative novel demonstrates that both the city and its magic remain very much alive. Agent: Annie Bomke, Annie Bomke Literary. (Oct.)