Lavender House

Forge Oct. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250834225. $26.99. M
Award-winning YA author Rosen (who wrote Camp as L. C. Rosen) makes his adult mystery debut with a superbly written 1950s-set novel that deftly displays a Raymond Chandleresque way with words combined with the same insightful characterization found in the crime fiction of Ross Macdonald and Patricia Highsmith. San Francisco police inspector Evander “Andy” Mills has a knack for knowing when a suspect is keeping a secret, probably because he has a lot of experience in hiding things himself. But when his fellow cops discover Andy’s secret—he prefers the company of men—his career with the SFPD is toast. However, just before Andy takes a deep dive into San Francisco Bay, Pearl Velez hires him to look into the death of her wife Irene Lamontaine, who died in an “accident” at Lavender House, the family’s estate outside the city.
VERDICT Rosen’s deftly clued, noir-tinged plot successfully walks the line between hope and heartbreak, all while thoughtfully exploring the role of family in our lives. This fresh take on the classic private investigator begs to be brought to the big screen.
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