Land of Shadows

Forge. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780765336354. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466828193. F
Lou Norton's life changed irrevocably the day her older sister went missing from their Los Angeles ghetto neighborhood. Decades have passed, but Norton, now a homicide detective with the LAPD, is still haunted by and fixated on the unsolved crime. When Lou is called to her old neighborhood to investigate the death of a young girl, she becomes convinced that the crime was committed by the same person who took her sister so long ago. Grappling with searing memories of her childhood, as well as dealing with her charming yet cheating spouse, Lou confronts the realities of her past along with her present. Hall's (A Quiet Storm) promising series debut introduces a black, female lead in the male-dominated world of the LAPD. The author has fun playing with stereotypes and has developed a strong and likable protagonist. The story shines during Lou's flashbacks to her childhood, which are filled with heart-wrenching memories that make the wisecracking detective more accessible. However, the chapters narrated by the killer slow the momentum and create some bumpy transitions.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries with a strong following for police procedurals and a welcome addition for collections seeking more diverse characters in the mystery genre. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick's "Pushing Boundaries" feature, LJ 4/15/13.]
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