Long-time readers of CR will know how much I enjoy crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. Especially novels from those genres set in Los Angeles — there’s just something about the City of Angels that lends itself to a whole swathe of crime/mystery fiction.
Last year, I read Ava Barry‘s debut novel, Windhall, which turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year (review here). After learning that the author had a new novel on the way — Double Exposure — I cheekily reached out to the publisher, in the hope of receiving a review copy. A little time passed, and a hardcover arrived in the mail! I waited until I’d finished up with a long work project, but I’ve decided to get started with it tonight.
In this heart-pounding tale of deception, a young P.I. must unravel the secrets behind the murders of a Los Angeles heiress’s parents.
Four years ago, a beautiful young heiress survived an attack that claimed the lives of both of her parents. The crime made headlines all over Los Angeles, both for the vicious nature of the killings and the seemingly random nature of the attack: nothing was stolen, and the van Aust family had no obvious enemies. Melia van Aust fled the city soon after the murders – which were never solved – but her brother Jasper has not been seen since.
After a childhood spent in the shadow of her famous parents, Rainey Hall understands the dynamics of a dysfunctional family. She still hasn’t recovered from a tragedy that tore her own family apart six years before. It’s part of the reason why she started her own private investigation agency—to aid victims of crimes that might otherwise go unsolved.
When Melia returns to Los Angeles and moves back into her family home, someone begins sending her increasingly violent messages that allude to the killing of her parents. She hires Rainey to track down the culprit and find her missing brother. Touched by the similarities between their lives, Rainey feels compelled to protect Melia, even when it becomes clear that their relationship has become more than professional.
Soon, Rainey finds herself falling down the rabbit hole of Melia’s life. Her quest to find Melia’s stalker will bring her in contact with disgraced royals, seedy neighbors, violent ex-boyfriends and former staff, each one with their own set of secrets. As the threats against Melia escalate and the two women are drawn together, it’s only a matter of time before another victim turns up.
Ava Barry‘s Double Exposure is due to be published by Pegasus Books, on October 4th.
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