In Rachel Howzell Hall's complex, emotionally charged mystery-thriller And Now She's Gone, an African American PI with a troubled past investigates the discrepancy-laden disappearance of a woman who may have fled an abusive relationship.
Although she's excited Rader Consulting has asked her to work in the field, instead of just writing the reports, 39-year-old Grayson Sykes still feels "nervous" and "nauseous" about her first missing person case. Nick Rader, a family friend and her boss at the firm in Los Angeles, wants Gray to find Isabel Lincoln, fiancée of gorgeous cardiologist Ian O'Donnell. Gray takes the case with caution, knowing some women vanish on purpose. And as Gray digs further, she begins receiving text messages from Isabel, claiming that Ian will kill her if he finds her. But the more Gray learns, the less sense Isabel's story makes. Soon Gray finds herself caught between her own dangerous past and Isabel's manipulations--if the person texting her is really Isabel.
This #ownvoices mystery keeps to a fast pace and has plenty to say during the ride, offering a strong, likable sleuth. Wry, smart-mouthed Gray may forget to bring a pen for notetaking, but she makes up for her lack of organizational skills with intelligence and a keen understanding of human behavior. Her will-they-won't-they dynamic with sexy, honorable Nick adds a sweeter layer of tension in an already suspenseful atmosphere, but Hall (They All Fall Down) also showcases a dynamic cast of supportive women coworkers. And Now She's Gone combines heart, smarts and wit in one package. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads