There’s really no reason to suspect foul play in the death of elderly veteran Eugene Washington. It’s brutally hot in LA, and the man was eating leftovers from a holiday barbecue hosted by his church–food poisoning wouldn’t be surprising. Detective Lou Norton is just checking details to make sure. There are some things that just don’t add up. Additionally, there’s the supposed girlfriend, whining about the gold bullion Washington supposedly promised her, while hanging around with another man, this one with a rap sheet as long as his arm. Plus there’s the fact that Washington’s only family seems to be the 6000-member Blessed Mission Ministries, a mega church who makes sure all of its members are up-to-date on their wills, and who put on the barbecue that provided the suspicious potato salad and peach cobbler. But when the food poisoning proves to have had a different source, and when a search for the bullion turns up more than expected, Lou and her partner Colin are in for a wild ride that will take them to some very dark places.
There are so many suspects! There’s the Bishop, whose church may be profiting from the deaths of some of its elderly members, and his wife, a real estate agent who is super friendly with Lou’s partner Colin. There’s the girlfriend. There’s the weird trio of women who hang out on the sidewalk and bang on tambourines, one of whom was kicked out of the church. And more–there are enough things uncovered and plot twists to keep the reader guessing.
This is my second Detective Lou Norton, although the fourth in the series (linked to my review of Trail of Echoes), and I am really enjoying both the character of Elouise Norton (with her backstory of loyal girlfriends, estranged father reaching out to her, and more) and the way the city of LA and the LAPD almost become characters in their own right. Lou’s tough and unsentimental, but at the same time, she is determined to be a voice for justice, and that includes for those living life on the margins of society. She’s tenacious too, as a black woman working with predominately white men would have to be.
She’s still dealing with a lot of physical pain from her near-death experience at the end of the previous book, not to mention the psychological and emotional issues that event provoked. Her tenacity and courage in catching the perpetrator led to a much-deserved promotion, but some of her colleagues resent that. Lou finds herself needing to ignore warnings and advice alike in order to finally figure out the truth behind Eugene Washington’s death. City of Saviors is a very satisfying read. Highly recommended.