And Now She’s Gone is another satisfying mystery by Rachel Howzell Hall. This fast-paced detective procedural quickly thrusts the reader into the action. The main character is Grayson Sykes (aka Gray), a newly minted private investigator at Rader Consulting, eager to fly solo on her first case. Her assignment? Find Isabel Lincoln and the dog. For two years, Gray worked as a contractor for Rader Consulting, writing reports and transcribing recordings. This new case gets her away from that drudgery. We ride along with Gray as she gets her sea legs as a detective. She shows a healthy dose of self confidence, bordering on arrogance, as she trades jabs with her frenemy-coworker Jennifer, who thinks Gray is not ready to handle a case on her own.
We’re rooting for Gray as well as chastising her for her rookie blunders; such as wearing a yellow linen pantsuit to a stake out, or not having a working pen to take notes with during her first meeting with the client and trying to memorize what is said! Then we laugh as she has to weather the same embarrassment with the very next lead she interviews later that day. With no working pen, she quickly opts to record her interview on her phone’s voice recorder, but we cringe for her yet again as her battery dies before the interview is over. These foibles make Gray very human, likable, and a sympathetic heroine that we root for. As the mystery unfolds and Grey chases leads and uncovers clues, we get a glimpse of her backstory and understand how the case triggers her own personal tragedy. She quickly finds her missing person, but is presented with a huge dilemma. Things are not so simple when your client is the bad guy. Or is he?
Ms. Howzell Hall has successfully created another thrilling page turner in And Now She’s Gone. It has all the elements of a fun ride. While we try to figure out the mystery, we are entertained with snappy dialog, likable vividly drawn characters, swift plotting, numerous red herrings and a twist you won’t see coming.