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Land of Shadows

(Detective Elouise Norton #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,687 ratings  ·  326 reviews
Along the ever-changing border of gentrifying Los Angeles, a seventeen-year-old girl is found dead at a construction site, hanging in the closet of an unfinished condominium.

Homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton’s new partner Colin Taggert, fresh from the Colorado Springs police department, assumes it’s a teenage suicide. Lou isn’t buying the easy explanation. For one t
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Forge Books (first published March 23rd 2014)
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Rachel Hall Hi, Maria!

Thanks for the note. The next Lou Norton novel, SKIES OF ASH, will be out next May!

House fire. Adultery. Murder.

It's all in there. And I ca…more
Hi, Maria!

Thanks for the note. The next Lou Norton novel, SKIES OF ASH, will be out next May!

House fire. Adultery. Murder.

It's all in there. And I can't wait to share it with you. (We'll probably do another Goodreads Giveaway!)

Judy Lindow Yes. Of sorts. There's sort of an out with the old (her absent, cheating husband) and in with the new. The relationship between her new partner goes a…moreYes. Of sorts. There's sort of an out with the old (her absent, cheating husband) and in with the new. The relationship between her new partner goes a pretty full arch from disdain to comfortable affection. It is not, however, a major part of the story. It's very clearly left open as to whether they'll be good friends or possibly more. (less)

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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Joe Valdez
Jun 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
As research for a novel I'm going to write, I'm reading detective fiction and stealing everything of value. My story takes place in L.A. of the early '90s, but I'm buying every type of firework on the stand and lighting the fuse. Published in 2015, Land of Shadows is my introduction to Rachel Howzell Hall and I was hoping that the voice of a black female LAPD detective would throw something unexpected or new into my reading. Tapping into a voice that alternates between sitcom sassy and trite, I ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I feel like this book was written especially for me. Like, I sat with the author and gave her a checklist of stuff I was thirsty for in a good police procedural. Stuff like:

1. I want the main character to be an African American woman
2. I want her to be smart and tough
3. I also want her to be funny and have an irreverent sense of humor
4. I want her to have the best, best girlfriends who will come to her house with wine and barbecue give her come to Jesus talks when she needs it
5. I want her to be
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, audio
I’ve always known a narrator could make a story. But this was the first time one irritated me. Je Nie Fleming rolled her rrr’s so much when she said Rodriguez it was comical. And her Hispanic accents sounded more humorous than realistic . I was torn. Was Lou really that much of a sassy smart ass or was it Fleming’s take on the character? She made me sorry I was listening and not reading. But once I overlooked her over the top performance, I found it to be a decent mystery.
Lou is a detective in
James Thane
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Twenty-five years ago, Elouise Norton's older sister, Tori, was caught stealing candy from a neighborhood store owned by a man named Napoleon Crase. In a panic, Elouise ran from the store and never saw her sister again. The police conducted a perfunctory investigation but never discovered what might have happened to Tori.

Perhaps the investigation was so slipshod because the cops were lazy or perhaps because they were overburdened. Perhaps it was because the victim, Tori, was a black teenager who
A great start to a series. Detective Eloise Starr is dedicated, determined and has a great manner for when she’s dealing with potential witnesses and suspects. She’s also got a particular reason for being a homicide detective and for wanting to solve her latest case.
When Eloise was thirteen, her older sister Tori disappeared after an altercation with a shop owner, and the cops were too willing to put in minimal work coupled with easy, lazy assumptions because the missing girl was black. Tori’s d
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. Lou is an LAPD detective summoned to investigate the death of a young woman. The scene looks like a suicide but evidence points to it all being staged to cover up her murder. Lou is determined to find the killer, not only because it’s her job, but because this case reminds her of her own sister’s disappearance 20 years ago. She has a feeling she knows who was behind her sister’s disappearance when they were teens, and will do whatever it takes to nab him for both incid ...more
Autumn Crum
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read

The author has a way with words. Colorfully painting a picture with words. I loved Lulu and am glad she got her closure
A refreshing lack of stereotypes. I read a lot so it's always a treat to find a book I really enjoy from a previously unknown (to me) author. This police procedural/thriller features a strong, smart & compassionate female protagonist trying to juggle a demanding career with a failing marriage.
Elouise "Lou" Norton is a LAPD homicide detective who has risen above a childhood riddled with poverty & tragedy. She grew up in "the jungle", a bleak & sullen area of the city where career options include
★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars

The narrator of the audible edition of this book is brilliant. Je Nie Fleming's voice propels this story, and her accents and lilts bring the characters and their surroundings to life.

Moving onto the actual book.
Land of Shadows is a very entertaining read. The strength of this book lies in its protagonist, Detective Elouise Norton. Although she has many traits and lines that make her seem like the typical badass (headstrong, snarky, no-nonsense, queen of banter) we repeatedly see
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Land of Shadows was an excellent read - very exciting and thought provoking. The writer's style created a clear vision of each scene. The mystery kept pace with the reveal. She ties it up nicely in the end with enough clues laid out to make it enjoyable. I was right there with Elouise as she discovered who killed her sister. Very good - as my mother and father would say v.v.g. ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
The more sparkly side of three stars. Although I figured most of what was happening about halfway through, I really enjoyed Elouise Norton even as I scoffed at her 90% completion rate. Nice detecting, solid back story, and really the only fly in the butter was a line about getting the "toxicology reports" on the DNA evidence recovered at the scene. ...more
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Damn! Who the hell recommended this book anyway, lol?! Now I've got to read the next one in the series. Screw sleep!!!

I know a lot of people talk about Michael Connolly's Harry Bosch series in regards to LA based detective stories, but Rachel Howzell Hall brings a nuance to the LA that most people only hear bad things about. The Crenshaw/Leimert Park/Baldwin Hills/View Park/Ladera Heights Districts are complex communities filled with the best and brightest as well as the dark despair and violen
Nancy McFarlane
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Detective Eloise “Lou” Norton thinks she may finally be able to solve the disappearance and probable murder of her sister 30 years earlier. As she and her new partner investigate the death of a young black teenage girl Lou keeps seeing links to her sister’s case. Determined to prove they are real, and not just wishful thinking, she doggedly pursues clues and leads and goes back and interviews witnesses from her sister’s case. Lou is tough and street smart and is determined to ‘educate’ her new p ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding myself esconsed in the lonely space between finishing the DVD of the late, lamented and quite brilliant LA cop show Southland, and awaiting the next Connelly/Wambaugh etc for my Los Angeles fix, I espied this- a new police thriller set in Los Angeles. Result, I thought, and, in a nifty change of reading for me, the main character is a female police officer, the feisty, but ‘still waters running deep’ kind of gal, Homicide Detective Elouise ‘Lou’ Norton. With the dual temptations of the l ...more
Mark Stevens
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One word: energy.

Another: attitude.

Rachel Howzell Hall’s writing has both.

In abundance.

Add a terrific issue (urban renewal), a likable and feisty detective (Elouise Norton) and a vivid setting (a glam-free L.A.) and you’ve got a winner. “Land of Shadows” is just that.

"Land of Shadows" is Elouise “Lou” Norton's story. Hall infuses Norton with such a strong point of view that you can’t help but go for the ride.

The lines fly:

“After working all day and then being called back in, I need a Billie Hol
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Full disclosure: this was a Goodreads First Reads preview win for me. And that alone makes me soooooo happy.

In my bedtime prayers, I have asked for a series to follow Rachel Howzell Hall's book featuring Elouise "Lou" Norton. Because this is a great read. But better, Lou Norton is a great character. She is flawed, she is funny, and she is fashionable. But mostly she is smart and tough and she gets the bad guy. She has a life beyond the badge and it is messy, like most of us. I believe a higher-
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Homicide detective Elouise ���Lou��� Norton and her new partner, Colin, are called out to a condo construction site for what initially appears to be a teenage suicide. But, after viewing the scene Lou is convinced that this is a homicide not suicide.
As she delves deeper into the case she starts finding more and more evidence that this murder is related to the disappearance of her sister, Tori. Thirty years ago, Tori and Lou walked to the store where Tori was caught shoplifting. Lou was terrified
I really like reading murder/ mystery novels with female leads. They are all over the place and not difficult to find. I was recommended this book by Goodreads and so it sounded good and I checked it out of the library. The wonderfully surprising thing about this book is that the female lead detective is black and the author is black as well. The book was well written and didn't have any of the stereotypical black images in the book. The book was based in South LA but as to the main character sh ...more
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Got this book recommendation from my niece. It started a bit slow (I thought my niece had given me a bum reco!) but then it picked up about 15% in. A pretty fun read....I’m going to give book 2 in the series a chance.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Typed out a review and computer crashed. Lost the steam to rewrite the review.

Basically, Lou is a really snippy character who mocks other people constantly in her head (she loves to dump on other peoples' appearances even when they have done nothing to her). Also, the pacing was terrible. We learn nothing for 270 pages, zero clues, and then suddenly in the span of 3 pages we get an insane amount of info-dumping and so many answers thrown at us when we didn't even really have enough information t
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*

This is a good Crime/Mystery read. One that will keep you up reading all through the night. Not so good in my case, because it had me asking my fiance’ to walk me out to my car in the mornings on my way to work. I was kind of shook up after reading it, but I like reading about decades old cases coming to light, whether it be fiction or real life.

Detective Lou Norton gets assigned a case of a possib
Don Gorman
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it
(3 1/2) Thanks to my Goodreads friend James Thane for turning me on to this one. I had read Hall's latest book (Skies of Ash), really liked it, and then discovered this one because of James. I think it is even better than the new one. Elouise Norton is just an outstanding protagonist in this story, her introductory exposure. Fun, tough, emotional, human, she is the complete package. The flashback feature here is not overdone, it is handled well, and the plot has a wild grouping of connected char ...more
Rebecca Trotter
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: real-book
Land of Shadows is a crime thriller with a heartbreaking twist. It was that twist of a 25 year old unsolved crime against a teenage girl that made me want to read Land of Shadows. It was the perfect pacing of dialog, action, and historical events that make me want to read everything Ms. Hall has written.

I have found a new favorite author, Rachel Howzell Hall.
Michael Bell
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The murder of a young cheerleader opens up a can of worms for the detective investigating the case. It brings back memories of the unsolved fate of her sister from when they were teenagers. I love the writing style of this author. The intriguing parts of the novel are the intimate knowledge of the perpetrators of the crime by those being investigated. The unlikely partnership between the detective and her new partner help to smooth over the failings in her personal life. The unliely ending will ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this excellent debut for this series. Can't wait for more with this female black detective as the protagonist. What a refreshing new voice we have in Rachel Howzell Hall. The writing is vivid and fresh. The "local color" provided by the people and parts of Los Angeles that may not be as well known as other parts was an added bonus. This along with an intriguing storyline made for a great read. ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
What a great read! Lou, the African American, woman detective, is a terrific character. Colin, her annoying new partner, is, well annoying, but learning. The mystery itself was quite good--perhaps a few too many bodies--going somewhere other than where I thought the author was taking us. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author. ...more
Very excited to read the rest of the books in the series! This was just a really solid mystery with an interesting crime and a great character at the center. If you are looking for a mystery that's less of a thriller and more looking for clues and building a case, this is one you should pick up. ...more
The CurvyJones
Had to sit in the car and finish this book. Crazy wild ride!!
Carolyn Wilkins
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book - lots of suspense and fast pace action. If you like a good thriller, this is it.
originally posted at:

I have been reading a lot of books from Titan over the last year, most of them have been focused on the science fiction or fantasy genres, I do think that Sherlock Holmes also is closely related to these genres a bit. Land of Shadow is I think my first Titan book that falls in the category of a classical thriller that takes place in our current day and age. This book really piqued my interest, I am always looking for books to offer me
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RACHEL HOWZELL HALL, author of the bestseller and Anthony Award-, Lefty Award- and ITW-award nominated They All Fall Down (Forge), writes the acclaimed Lou Norton series, including Land of Shadows, Skies of Ash, Trail of Echoes, and City of Saviors. She is also the co-author of The Good Sister with James Patterson, which was included in the New York Times bestseller The Family Lawyer. She is curre ...more

Other books in the series

Detective Elouise Norton (4 books)
  • Skies of Ash (Detective Elouise Norton, #2)
  • Trail of Echoes (Detective Elouise Norton, #3)
  • City of Saviors (Detective Elouise Norton, #4)

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