An African-American LAPD detective’s approach to a murder case is filtered through the experiences of her own early life.
Elouise "Lou" Norton grew up in a tough section of Los Angeles. How tough? Her sister Tori was most likely a murder victim 30 years ago, though her body was never found. Now Lou is married to a wealthy man who cheated on her in the past and who’s at it again during a business trip to Japan. When Monique Dowler, a young African-American girl, is found hanging in a closet in an unfinished condo complex, Lou’s new partner, Colin Taggert—a white cop who recently moved from Colorado to escape a bad relationship—thinks she killed herself, but Lou has an excellent reason to disagree. The man who’s building the complex over community objections is Napoleon Crase, whom she suspects of having murdered Tori. Monique was no innocent. Her many boyfriends included a minister’s son and a gangbanger. Once the coroner confirms that her death was murder, Lou and Colin have plenty of suspects to consider. They’re disturbed that Monique was found wearing her cheerleading outfit even though she’d recently graduated from high school and had been accepted at a local college. They discover that Monique and her older sister both drove expensive cars and wore designer clothes their family could hardly have afforded. When Lou goes back to her childhood streets to investigate, she must walk a fine line between past and present.
This first procedural from Hall (A Quiet Storm, 2002, etc.) combines a conflicted, gutsy heroine and a complex, many-layered mystery.