In Land of Shadows, Detective Elouise ‘Lou’ Norton needs to figure out who killed Monique Darson, and whether it’s the same monster that stole her sister more than twenty years ago… This story started to germinate in my mind soon after the murder of the granddaughter of the then Los Angeles police chief. A girl from a well-to-do family, a church-goer, lawful,gunned down at a chicken joint on a Sunday night. Her mistake? Being a ‘childhood friend’ of a gang member — who had been with her in her car that evening and had been the intended target of those wayward, fatal bullets.

How could such a ‘good girl’ die in such gang-land fashion?

Like this real-life ‘Daddy’s girl,’ Monique Darson is found hanging in a closet. Not the way she was supposed to go out. Lou’s sister Tori disappeared and hasn’t been found, dead or alive, in decades. Not the way she was supposed to go out. The commonality between the two: both girls wanted to walk on the wild side.

Good Girls like Bad Boys. Rebels without causes. Thugs and mobsters and hooligans, oh my. Cigarettes and tattoos, scowls and ‘eff off’s’ on their lips. No matter the race, ethnicity, political persuasion, some of our daughters fall in love with thugs. And then they start to live in two worlds—one with you and school and ministers and scrubbed-down faces, and one with him with cheap wine and condoms (we can only hope and pray) and guns. Shadows everywhere.

And then, the Bad Things happen.

…And then, writers like me craft mysteries that invite readers to peek into the aftermath of the Bad Things.

Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall is published by Titan

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