These Women

Ecco: HarperCollins. May 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062656384. $27.99. SUSPENSE
A seedy but changing neighborhood in Los Angeles is home to five women, unknowingly linked to one man, who live their lives on the margins of society. Strippers and dancers, mothers and daughters, each tells her gritty, unflinching tale of perpetual poverty and life on the street. When more than one young woman is brutally murdered, a petite and mildly disgraced, gum-chewing Latina police detective named Essie pieces together the clues that reveal a 15–year trail of death. No one listens to her. No one listens to any of these vulnerable, hard-bitten women. Drug use and sex work are prevalent, but some turn to art to express this tough lifestyle. Others lash out in the quietude of the cemetery. Laced with grief and rage, racism and sexism, this edgy urban drama centers upon a serial killer’s obsession that targets women of color living a lifestyle that garners little sympathy.
VERDICT Pochoda (Wonder Valley) stuns with this disquieting literary thriller rife with descriptive street language and violence. It is complex, intense, and enthralling. Fans of Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room will experience a similar sense of feeling both captivated and bereft. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/19.]

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