Witty, yet down to earth. Tough as nails, yet vulnerable somewhere on the inside. Somewhere untouchable. Elouise Norton is a shot of adrenaline for the detective genre. Sure, she ruffles feathers and deals in sarcasm like every detective since Marlowe, but she’s a rogue in a man’s world, an underdog with dimension and gravitas. When investigating a young girl’s apparent suicide, only Lou sees the killer under the crime, and only she can stop him.— Dillon
Los Angeles homicide detective Elouise "Lou" Norton and her partner, Colin Taggert, arrive at the scene of a tragic house fire. Juliet Chatman perished in the blaze, along with her two children. Left behind is grieving husband and father Christopher Chatman, hospitalized after trying to rescue his family. Chatman is devastated that he couldn't save them.
Unless, of course, he's the one who killed them.
Neighbors and family friends insist the Chatmans were living the dream. But Lou quickly discovers the reality was very different. The flames of adultery, jealousy, scandal, fraud, and disease had all but consumed the Chatmans' marriage before it went up in smoke.
Lou's own marriage hangs by a thread. Soured by the men in her life, Lou is convinced that Chatman started the fire. Her colleagues worry that her personal issues are obscuring her judgment. With very little evidence regarding the fire—and rising doubts about her husband's commitment to monogamy—Lou feels played by all sides.
Was the fire sparked by a serial arsonist known as The Burning Man? Or by the Chatmans' son, who regularly burned his father's property?
Searching for justice through the ashes of a picture-perfect family, Lou doesn't know if she will catch an arsonist or be burned in the process.
Skies of Ash is another thrilling read from author-to-watch Rachel Howzell Hall.
"Gives voice to a rare figure in crime fiction: a highly complex, fully imagined black female detective." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Trail of Echoes
"Lou . . . is a formidable fighter--someone you want on your side." --New York Times Book Review
"A fresh voice in crime fiction." --Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author
"Hall..has a true gift.”—Crimespree Magazine
“Another smart LA procedural…this determined African American protagonist makes a wonderful addition to the genre.”--Booklist on Trail of Echoes
“Hall outdoes her stellar debut in an exploration of vile secrets that pays homage to that earlier master of complex California homicide, Raymond Chandler.”—Kirkus Reviews on Skies of Ash
“Rachel Howzell has written another riveting thriller starring her favorite (and mine!) female sleuth, the fabulous when furious and even better when behaving Lou Norton…one of the summer's best.”—Huffington Post on Skies of Ash
"A racially explosive Los Angeles provides the backdrop for this exceptional crime novel...Dead-on dialogue and atmospheric details help propel a tale full of tormenting moral issues. Lou, a brave lady in a brave book, does the best she can." —Publishers Weekly, starred review on Land of Shadows