These Women

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Consumer note: if you, against all odds, read this report and decide to grab a hardcover copy of These Women, you might want to avoid reading the front flap. It gives away too much.

That's not to say it isn't good. It is good (except for the front flap). I put it on my get-at-library list because it was nominated for the Best Novel Edgar award, so I'm not alone in that judgment.

It's centered around L.A.'s famed Western Avenue, and the lives of "these" women who live in those environs. And it's also the current haunt of a serial killer that nobody's quite caught onto yet. There's foul-mouthed Feelia, who barely escaped death fifteen years back; Dorian, whose daughter was a victim, and has a hard time getting the police to take her seriously about the dead birds someone keeps leaving at her home and workplace; Julianna, a "dancer" and (um) reliever of male stress at a local club; Marella, a tedious, pretentious artist; Anneke, her mom. And (best of all), there's Essie, a dedicated but career-stalled vice cop who's obsessed with finding the killer, but is not taken seriously by her co-workers. She's also damaged goods, unrecovered from a horrific accident years back.

It's really more about "these women" than it is the crime, though. Ms. Pochoda does a deep dive into each character, and we get to know them pretty well. There's some feminist politics, but this brutish male reader didn't find them too annoyingly strident.

I think it's one of those books it pays to read quickly. I stretched it out over ten days or so, and some of the loose-end plot details at the beginning of the book had faded from memory before they were tied up near the end.