SKIES OF ASH by Rachel Howzell Hall Reviewed

Rachel Howzell Hall

There are authors that evoke emotion or a sense of place immediately with their writing. Rachel Howell Hall with her second book has already done this for me, I am transported right into LA when I read her books, I feel the sun on my back and hear the noise of the streets. I feel the frustration of her characters.

Elouise Norton, Lou, is a homicide cop in LA and she is working the streets she learned to know growing up. In this second outing Lou and her partner Colin Taggert are investigating a fire that left a family dead, all but the father who seems to have rushed back in to save his family. As the case opens up for Lou she discovers secrets and dysfunction within the family and having some trouble at home herself it may be making her look at the case different than she might normally. Is it really a case of serial arson or is the Father hiding something in the ashes of his life?

HallHall does family dynamics and dysfunction with a skill that makes me think of Ross MacDonald. She also writes police procedural with the heart of Ed McBain, and does LA like Michael Connelly. But make no mistake, the voice in this book is all Hall and it is strong. Days after finishing this book scenes from it kept flashing back in my head as I visualized them clearly. I hope to see a lot more from Hall because someone who can combine the heart and soul while still being realistic about the real world like this has a true gift. Good mystery or crime fiction keeps you intrigued, great crime fiction gives you a look at the world where they take place and society at the time. This does that and more.
I’m ready for the next book!

Jon Jordan