Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Seven California crime novels with a nuanced view of race, class, gender & community

Sara Sligar is an author and academic based in Los Angeles, where she teaches English and creative writing as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in History from the University of Cambridge. Her writing has been published in McSweeney’s, Quartz, The Hairpin, and other outlets.

Take Me Apart is her first novel.

At CrimeReads Sligar tagged seven "books [that] offer some moments of sun-kissed glamour that play into California fantasies—but they also represent an important move toward a more textured, nuanced view of the Golden State." One title on the list:
Rachel Howzell Hall, Lou Norton series, starting with Land of Shadows

There have been many police procedurals set in Los Angeles, but few that address the complex social dynamics of police work as thoughtfully as Rachel Howzell Hall’s Elouise Norton series. The first book, Land of Shadows, follows Detective Lou Norton as she investigates a teenage girl’s death that may be linked to her own sister’s disappearance decades ago. Hall’s series features the snappy dialogue often associated with noir authors like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, but it also offers a much-needed critique of how race and gender factor into the criminal justice system.
Read about another entry on the list.

Land of Shadows is among Steph Cha's top ten books about trouble in Los Angeles.

--Marshal Zeringue