Book Review: And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

And Now She’s Gone

Author: Rachel Howzell Hall

Publication Date: 22 September 2020

Genre: Adult Fiction – Thriller

Pages: 384

Publisher: Tor/Forge

Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, And Now She’s Gone explores the nature of secrets — and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive.

I read a fair amount of thrillers, and the majority of them tend to follow the same script: middle class white women trapped in an unhappy marriage with a cheating husband who now have a drinking problem as a coping mechanism. Yeah…no one’s got time for that.

Rachel Howzell Hall has blessed us with Grayson Sykes, an overweight Black female who is dedicated to rescuing battered women from their abusers. Grayson has finally worked her way up to her first real PI gig (technically her first gig was hunting down a chihuahua named Cheeto, but she’d rather forget that), which is to locate Isabel Lincoln at the request of her boyfriend Dr. Ian O’Donnell.

Now, Gray is a TERRIBLE PI, so don’t go into this one expecting her to be the next Sherlock Holmes. That’s not to say that she isn’t dedicated or isn’t learning from her mistakes. Every time Gray learns more information about Isabel, nothing seems to add up. Gray also makes assumptions in places that she shouldn’t. To make matters worse, skeletons in Gray’s personal life start to become entangled in the case. Oh, and she has some complicated feelings towards her boss. So yeah, Gray has a lot going on, so it’s no surprise that Isabel’s case is kicking her butt.

What really elevated this story for me unlike the majority of thrillers that I read was how the nuances of Black culture was infused throughout the entire plot. This was seen in the pop culture references, the food, the language (code switching), etc. The author does a phenomenal job of showing these experiences from the viewpoint of Gray rather than an outside perspective. Furthermore, the author really dives into discussions of race when it comes to Gray interacting with non-Black characters. Gray’s interactions with Ian made me want to throw Ian off of a cliff. His microaggressions and gaslighting were bad enough, but when he said that he was “post-race”, I swear I almost lost it right then and there.

Overall, if you’re looking for a thriller that offers lots of twists and turns but doesn’t follow the typical formula for the genre, definitely check out And Now She’s Gone.

Thank you to Tor/Forge for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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