Both my Mum and I enjoyed Rachel Howzell Hall's debut novel last year, and so I thought I'd hand over the review reins to my lovely Mum who sometimes guest reviews on my blog as Mother Butterfly. Here is her review of Skies of Ash below.
This is the second book by Rachel Howzell Hall about homicide detective, Elouise Norton. In her latest case she is faced with secrets and scandal surrounding a fatal incident of arson. It is very fast paced with plenty of action – in fact the whole book is set over only 6 days.
Elouise is already dealing with a problematic marriage when this new case drops in her lap. Her still fairly new partner really doesn’t help things along at times with his big mouth and she is constantly having to kick his ankle to shut him up. Although as he can be quite charming with the ladies when he sets his mind to a bit of flirting, he sometimes manages to get things done that Elouise can’t.
You can’t help liking Elouise’s character as she tries to clear up this dreadful crime. She’s faced with so many lies from so many people and as the case unfolds things get worse with lots of scandal; adultery, fraud and jealousy - that all added up to the terrible deaths that are visited in the first chapter.
Rachael is very good at making her characters very real, with all their foibles on show or revealed through the book.
As the story opens us up to all the suspects I found myself deciding that a certain person was guilty only to change my mind by the next chapter. In the end it didn’t turn out to be who I had thought - so for someone like me who reads a lot and more often than not, gets it right, it made a change to be surprised like this.
If you haven’t read her first book Land of Shadows yet, give it a go as although each book can be read on its own (and Land of Shadows is a really good read too), this first book introduces Elouise to us and helps you to understand who she is and how her mind works.
Book number three, Trail of Echoes, is due out next year and I’m already looking forward to it.