Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ten California crime novels not set in Los Angeles or San Francisco

Johnny Shaw’s novels have been set in the California settings of Indio, Calexico, Thermal, Holtville, Blythe, El Centro, Plaster City, and Campo. His most recent novel, The Southland, is hypocritically set in Los Angeles.

At CrimeReads, Shaw tagged ten favorite California crime novels that aren't set in Los Angeles or San Francisco. One title on the list:
WONDER VALLEY by Ivy Pochoda (2017)

I cheated a little here, as a considerable amount of this novel is set in Los Angeles. But I’m such a fan of Pochoda’s work that I was willing to bend the nonexistent rules that I made for myself. Plus, as a desert rat myself, I wanted more desolation represented. She nails something about Twentynine Palms and the area around it that isn’t easy to capture. Not just the heat and the isolation, but what that does to the people. This complex literary crime novel is well worth the read. And while you’re at it, pick up These Women which is equally fantastic.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Wonder Valley.

--Marshal Zeringue