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Land of Shadows (Detective Elouise Norton) Hardcover – June 10, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton knows that the young black woman hanging in the closet of an unfinished Los Angeles condominium complex isn’t a suicide. She also knows that the development belongs to Napoleon Crase, the last person to see her sister alive before she disappeared 30 years ago. With a wet-behind-the-ears new partner to train and a husband who’s blaming the time difference while away on business for missed phone calls, Lou already has a lot on her plate. But nobody’s going to get between her and this murder. Lou is a good cop and fun to watch—great instincts, a no-nonsense interviewing style, and uncompromising in her efforts to catch the bad guy. She’s a well-rounded character who can keep her sense of humor even when her work hits painfully close to home. As she tells her partner, “I’m sassy, but not Florence-the-Jeffersons’-maid sassy.” Hall’s first book, A Quiet Storm (2002), was a domestic drama about a family facing mental illness; here she moves easily into the suspense genre—where hopefully she and Officer Norton will stay for a long time to come. --Karen Keefe

Review

"A fresh voice in crime fiction. Fast, funny, heartbreaking and wise...Elouise Norton is the best new character you'll meet this year."
--Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author

"Spellbinding. Gritty. Original, complex, profound, and riveting. This is a voice you have never heard--and will be unable to forget. Prepare to be blown away."
--Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author

"Intense, gritty and absolutely riveting, Land of Shadows took my breath away. A phenomenal book I'm recommending far and wide."
--Hilary Davidson, Anthony Award-winning author, Blood Always Tells


"A hardhitting tale of a modern, complex Los Angeles. Well-written and deftly paced...a story that stays with you after the last page is read."
--Gary Phillips, author of Warlord of Willow Ridge

"A racially explosive Los Angeles provides the backdrop for this exceptional crime novel from Hall (A Quiet Storm). Elouise "Lou" Norton, an LAPD homicide detective known on the street as "Lockjaw," has solved 90% of the cases she's led... Dead-on dialogue and atmospheric details help propel a tale full of tormenting moral issues." - Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"The story shines during Lou's flashbacks to her childhood, which are filled with heart-wrenching memories that make the wisecracking detective more accessible....Recommended for libraries with a strong following for police procedurals and a welcome addition for collections seeking more diverse characters in the mystery genre." - Library Journal

"Rachel Howzell Hall...writes with skill and flair. Her first novel exhibits a keen sense of pace and place, and an equally keen sense of what makes her wide and varied cast of characters tick. While relying on familiar tropes and motifs (the bumbling partner, the past haunting the present, politics getting in the way of solving crimes, among others), Hall gives them a unique edge." - Mystery Scene Magazine

A fresh voice in crime fiction. Fast, funny, heartbreaking and wise...Elouise Norton is the best new character you'll meet this year. (Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author)

Spellbinding. Gritty. Original, complex, profound, and riveting. This is a voice you have never heard--and will be unable to forget. Prepare to be blown away. (Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author)

A hard-hitting tale of a modern, complex Los Angeles. Well-written and deftly paced…a story that stays with you after the last page is read. (Gary Phillips, author of Warlord of Willow Ridge)

Intense, gritty and absolutely riveting, Land of Shadows took my breath away. The power of Rachel Howzell Hall's prose and the sophistication of her plotting grabbed me immediately. Even so, her most dazzling accomplishment is bringing to life LAPD detective Lou Norton, whose passionate voice is still reverberating in my head. A phenomenal book I'm recommending far and wide. This better be the start of a series! (Hilary Davidson)
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Product Details

  • Series: Detective Elouise Norton (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (June 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765336359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765336354
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rachel Howzell Hall was born and raised in Los Angeles. An avid reader and lover of books, she received her B.A. in English and American Literature from University of California at Santa Cruz.

She is the author of Land of Shadows (Forge, 2014), A Quiet Storm, The View from Here and No One Knows You're Here. She lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

A well written and fast paced story.
Suzanne
These themes also made the ending that much more satisfying in a way that is hard to explain.
Roseelyse
The main character was totally relatable and the storyline was great.
Rena

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Olive on June 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I’ve read the author’s other books, and I liked them a lot. But this, I LOVED. First, it’s awesome to read a crime mystery with a woman in the lead (it feels like I know Det. Lou Norton). And then, a mystery featuring a woman of color. And the setting: Los Angeles. The author stayed away from stereotypes, which I appreciated, and she offered a glimpse into another area of Los Angeles. While it was a murder mystery on one level, the story also tied in relationships and class issues. It’s definitely not your average detective story. Can’t wait to read the next in the series!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Greene on June 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
She had me at Hello.

I’ve lived in LA all my life and have driven by many of the places mentioned in this book but never stopped and hoped my car would not fail to take me away from there. This area of the city where the busses are never open at the top. It’s not mentioned on any of the sight seeing trips or visitor maps to explore on your visit to LA. But it’s still Los Angeles with it’s own story to tell. In this well written exploration of life in a part of my city I know little about Ms. Hall was an excellent tour guide.

I am a character driven reader and this book does not disappoint. Characters in this book are familiar in some ways and very foreign in others but always interesting. The struggles of the main character alone could fill 3 separate books. It’s this multi layered way of bringing motivation and life into these chess pieces that I love most.

When I caught myself talking back to the book saying “oh hell not her please…” I knew I had been hooked, trapped and tied. To describe Elouise Norton simply as a sassy black woman would be like saying Hannibal Lecter was a cook. It’s the sum of the pieces that the author cares about most in these pages more then the end product.

This book touching on several issues as well. Though the crime at hand is important so are the lives of those around it. We all struggle with similar life threatning issues regardless of race or income. The author seems to not want to make excuses for the bad things people do to one another but to provide information as to why they might. The sad thing is in some of the conclusions there is no answer, much like real life.

Thanks for the ride Ms. Hall I’m getting my ticket for your next one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Norma Dale on June 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
I waited almost a year for this book to come out, and I wasn't disappointed. Rachel Howzell Hall is a gifted mystery writer. Always an extra twist to mess with your head. Detective Lou Norton will thrill you with her intelligent, no nonsense, inner city knowledge, and some BBFs that will make you wish you were one of them. Enjoy. I hear there are two more coming.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roseelyse on June 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Hall's books always leave me wanting to pick up her next book, and this one is no different. Ms. Hall's writing reminds me of Raymond Chandler's writing style - dripping with description and painting a crystal clear picture. The plot is intriguing and all of the characters are written well - I felt like I knew all of the characters, especially Detective Lou Norton. Lou Norton is a smart, passionate and committed detective, and her most recent case hits close to home. I rooted for her and even tried to protect her; more than once I found myself begging her not to do this or say that, else she risk losing her job or her life. In my view, when you start talking at a book the way some yell at a movie screen to convince the heroine not to open that door, you've got a great book.

In addition to the well-written characters, the themes and plot of the book more than justify the $15 price of admission. It's a classic whodunnit, with modern twists and important focus on issues of race and class. This focus does not make the book preachy or boring, however; it actually moves the plot forward, making the reader think twice about decisions made by the characters. These themes also made the ending that much more satisfying in a way that is hard to explain.

If you are looking for a compelling summer read, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a book that explores themes of race, class and crime, this is the book for you. If you've been searching for a gripping thriller with a strong female lead, this is the book for you. If you have no idea what book you're looking for, but you're willing to take a chance on something new, do yourself a favor and buy Land of Shadows - you'll be hooked and counting down the days to the next installment, just like me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Chinnery on June 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As an avid fan of Rachel Howzell Hall's mysteries I was excited to read Land of Shadows. I was not disappointed. Land of Shadows is a smart, well-written contemporary mystery set in Los Angeles. It is a fun read with lots of twists and turns. The characters are well developed but leaves just enough to want to know more. I cannot wait for book two.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dollswest on July 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was quite a pleasant surprise. There were only two reviews listed when I decided to give it a chance. And I am glad that I did.

Our hero, Lou Norton, an LAPD homicide detective from the Southwest division, reminds me of Harry Bosch. And I am a huge Harry Bosch fan. Both have lots of baggage and the skill and determination to get the "bad guy". I love crime dramas that take place in the Los Angeles area so this really made for a great read for me.

Lou not only wants to solve her current murder case but, somehow, tie it into her sister's murder from twenty-five years ago. Her "newbie" partner is not much help but is a quick learner and knows that Lou is a great detective and teacher. Together, they go about each step to uncover the murder plot.

The book really takes you to a place in a social-economic group I am not all that familiar with. The author does it with style, honesty, and true grit. The plot line moved right along and it was not easy to put the book down. I just wanted to keep reading.

The only part I could not figure out was when the author switched from first person narrative to third person and told the story of some older man that had an obsession for young women that would put up with his weird sexual fantasies. I never did get the connection of this with the rest of the book. The author tried to fit it in but I must admit I was confused at the end when all the murder cases were resolved.

Other than that, I would recommend this book to any Harry Bosch fan or anyone else that loves a great murder mystery. I hope the author writes more stories about Lou Norton.
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