Cover Image: These Women

These Women

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Member Reviews

What a wonderful surprise! I dove into this book never having heard of it, but wow, that should change for everyone. These Women offered such a unique perspective, giving a voice to women who are often silenced. The writing was beautiful and gritty, and I will be thinking about this one for a long time to come. It's definitely a highlight of my 2020 reading. 

Set in South Los Angeles, we follow the stories of five women whose lives change when two murders disrupt their neighborhood. 

This book is so much more than a novel about a serial killer. Rather, it’s a piece of literary fiction about five unique women that happens to have a serial killer in the background, until they aren’t.

Ivy Pochoda has such beautiful way with words! The writing is gritty and gorgeous, and it painted a very visceral picture of South LA. The novel focuses mainly on women whose lives intersect with the sex work industry, told in separate stories that build on one another. Based on the topic, I thought the novel would be much more graphic, but the author manages to write about it in an approachable, digestible manner.

The characters were strong and relatable, all in a world that constantly reminded them how little they mattered. I cared so much about these women, and I was outraged at the way they were treated because of their connection to the sex work industry. Through their stories, the author did exactly what she set out to do: gave a believable voice to women that are typically brushed aside in society. I loved the way their stories built on one another and how connections were gradually revealed. And when I realized who the serial killer was, I was just as horrified as the characters. 

All in all, I highly encourage you to pick up this novel! I haven’t stopped thinking about it and am already looking forward to a reread.

Thank you to Ecco Books, HarperCollins Publishers, and NetGalley for the free e-galley in exchange for my honest review.
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This book has a very unique and interesting premise, and I really thought I would love it but something just didn’t click for me. It was a good read, but I think my issue with it was that it reads more like a character study of the 5 women it centers around rather than playing up the mystery/thriller element. I’m sure people will love this one but for me there was just something missing
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I really  enjoyed the storyline of this book. The characters were an eclectic mix, that kept me engagged. The book started out powerfully and kept me engaged  throughout.
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Beautifully colorful and evocative; Pochoda's use of language is phenomenal. The story is not always engrossing, but one would read it for the words alone. Pochoda paints pictures and builds scenes that absolutely shimmer.
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These Women by Ivy Pochoda is a riveting and sobering read that takes the reader into very dark, real, harrowing, and lonely corners of humanity. 

This book alternates between 1999 and 2014 dealing specifically with the women that were either murdered or affected by the victims of a serial killer. The police have deemed these victims disposable as several were entwined into occupations and habits that were sometimes less then “G-rated” (and we can leave it at that). This book shows us that these women were still human beings, still had hopes, dreams, fears, goals, and should have been just as important as anyone else.

As the story continues, all of what we think are individual voices and vignettes, become braided into a common theme. Yes, there is suspense, a serial killer plot that is answered, but this book is so much more. It gives us a window into souls. Souls that are just as worthy and you and I, and yet when they were living, and dying, their voice was silenced. This book brings them to the surface as it should have been all along. 

Gripping, tragic, and quite frankly, stunning. This is the first time I have read anything by this author, and a new fan has been made. 

5/5  


Thank you NetGalley and Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. 

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
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Thank you for offering an early look at THESE WOMEN through the Bookperk newsletter! I sure could use the distraction of a good book right about now.
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There is a serial killer in South L.A. murdering women who are part of the gritty street life.a mother grieves for her murdered daughter while seeking  justice. A cop who can't let go of the connection to the marginalized victims. A Young artist admires the way of life and the stark, frightening photos from a victim's phone. A survivor of the attack with the same m.o. from years earlier trying to live again. Captures the struggle o f prostitutes, dancers, and others on the edges trying to take care of themselves and one another. Memorable characters and easy to imagine. Well done.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
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I absolutely loved this! Each story was woven together beautifully and each story was as haunting as the rest. I learned so much about what it's like to be a sex worker - more than I ever imagined. Seeing these women's deaths shrugged off by so many people for so long infuriated me. 

The twist was unexpected, which always makes me love a thriller/mystery even more.

I'll post a longer review on GoodReads, Amazon, as well as my blog once it's up and running. 

Thanks to NetGalley for my copy. All opinions are my own.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this. I will be posting a full review to Goodreads, Amazon, and Instagram.
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This is a masterful, magnetic book revolving around five or six marginalized women in South Los Angeles.  While a splendid literary novel of female empowerment and commentary there is a killing spree all around them - again. Back in the late 1990’s there as a series of unsolved and overlooked murders of sex workers.  Now it seems it’s happening again to  similar  women  in a cruel simulation.  The novel is propelled by flashbacks to 1999 and the pictures are vivid and realistic.  The women are the heart and soul of the neighborhood and the book makes us rage at their treatment and how little the feminist movement raised them until they raised themselves.  Loved it and the women stay in your head and heart.
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This book was interesting on a lot of levels and I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters it followed. There were times I wanted more from one character's story and wish it had been fleshed out a bit more. I do feel like seeing the situation from so many different voices was fascinating though. The author had a great way of getting you into someone else's head as there was never a moment when I wasn't sure who I was reading. Each character was wildly different in tone and voice. The end result of the mysteries were predictable by the end but for awhile it kept me guessing. Sometimes the twist doesn't have to be that big of a twist to make for a good story though.
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“These women” are neighborhood women dismissed by society. They are often considered annoying, unsightly, troublesome. When they have a legitimate complaint, or worse, are murdered, they are dismissed by the police as unimportant and investigations are brief. Fifteen years ago there was a series of brutal murders; the majority of victims worked in the sex industry. There were no arrests, some speculation and one strong suspicion. Now similar women are being murdered. Dorian, mother of Lecia, a past victim, tries hard to protect the women who come into her fish shop, especially Julianna, who babysat her daughter years before. She approaches a new detective to re-open her daughter’s case. Essie, the detective, burdened with personal problems, listens and her investigation links Dorian’s request with Feelie, seeking release from a stalker, and ironically the only survivor of the serial killer. When photos from the cell phone of a victim are used in an art exhibit, the circle closes and a new fear arises. Could the killer be one of them? This is my second Ivy Pochoda novel and once again I am not disappointed. The characters are believable: the twists are suspenseful and the message plausible.i look forward to her next work.
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These Women by Ivy Pochoda is excellent social commentary wrapped in a serial killer mystery. The novel drips with sexual deviance, illicit drug use, and dark alleys, all set against the sunny backdrop of Southern California. "These Women" are the difficult women, the women society doesn't know how to make room for. They're mothers who have lost children too young and boil with the injustice of it. They're women whose options end at sex work and who class themselves by what type of sex work. They're women who will stop at nothing to seize control in a world that would see them subjugated.

Told from five perspectives, the events of the novel are set within a larger national #blacklivesmatter atmosphere and at the same time California is burning and then flooding. Pochoda weaves all of this into her story beautifully, making everything seem disturbingly real. The atmospheric gravity of the novel, combined with excellent writing, meant it was difficult for me to put this book down. The five women that tell this story are unique voices with common experiences; women who are afraid, women who are ignored, and women for whom societal justice has profited nothing.

This may be one of my favorite books this year!
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THESE WOMEN
BY IVY POCHODA

This is my second time around reviewing this fantastic new favorite reads of 2020 called "THESE WOMEN," by a master author named Ivy Pochoda. I am forever grateful to my dear friend Cheri S. for writing such a moving review which you can read here:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... Cheri has a discerning eye for choosing books and pulling out moving quotes that make me rush to read the book with her touching reviews. This book blew me away with how much it changed my perception of how we are all collectively as people more of a whole than separate souls. This is a powerful story about women and no matter what they choose as a profession due to circumstances or poverty that we are all precious with hopes and dreams and it has educated me not to judge or stereotype all the more. Ivy Pochoda has crafted a slice of culture in Los Angeles that some of the women whose vocations we may judge but her beautiful characterizations prove that all of us may not be defined by what we do to earn a living. Each person is beautiful at heart and need to be treated as if we matter. I am so grateful to have read this book because I can see more clearly that every single life is precious and I am guilty as charged for compartmentalizing women who have chosen to make choices that formerly I couldn't understand. This book is valuable in its ability for me to have more compassion in the future and recognize that nobody deserves to be defined by how they are forced to survive.

Essie is a shining example of illuminating that everyone deserves to be heard and taken seriously. She is an extremely intuitive Vice detective who takes the time to listen and she sees that everyone she takes a statement from or everyone she questions has inherent value. She was a former homicide detective that because her former partner decided she was protecting Essie about a car accident that Essie's husband caused has consequences for Essie. Her former partner has been promoted while Essie now rides a bicycle and is not taken seriously because of her height. The LAPD's blue code of silence and their their dismissing a woman named Feelia as a throwaway victim whose vernacular is off putting allows an obsessed man to go on to become a serial killer. It started in 1999 with Feelia who is a street walker who survives a vicious attack miraculously but is treated by the LAPD as not important to listen to. I loved Essie who in 2014, fifteen years later sees a link by the patterns described by many women and cares enough to look into the complaints Feelia and Dorian make.

I loved Dorian who owns a fish shack and feeds the women who come to her alley starving. Dorian like Essie sees the intrinsic value in all of humanity in all walks of life. Dorian's daughter Lecia was murdered in 1999 after tucking in an 11 year old Julianna she babysat for before going out. Dorian has so much compassion for these women especially an exotic dancer that uses drugs to help her cope with the backroom lap dances and performing sexual gratification at the club she works. Julianna tires of the life and goes home to her parents but doesn't heed Dorian's warnings of being careful. Julianna is inspired by art and uses her phone to snap pictures that captures the culture. Ivy Pochoda has changed my compartmentalizing in what these women do to survive with her beautiful and insightful characterizations in this book. She illuminates that Julianna is not defined by her choice to be an exotic dancer by painting a vivid picture making me feel that there is also depth to each of these women. They all have families who love them and are grief stricken or left motherless to fend for themselves without the means of most of us as simply as a roof over our heads and food to eat when we are hungry.

I truly felt for all of these women whose different professions that I used to also stereotype has forever altered my thinking. After reading this gripping and addictive novel while at 496 pages felt like only 200. I devoured it in one sitting and was transformed into being educated that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I was like most of the LAPD who was quick to judge that people who sell their bodies for a living are different and therefore put their suffering out of my mind. I LOVED THIS BOOK and can't wait to read her previous two novels. Even though there is a serial killer targeting these women who make their livings by something I wouldn't do, I saw them as humans just as important and I grew to care for all of them. The serial killer is someone you will never have suspected and there isn't any gratuitous graphic violence. These women are much more important than the aspect of the mystery. They all stole my heart and I cared about them more than the mystery element. They are that compelling and complex. I think a book that has the power to alter my perception and feel warmth for the characters and become so invested in their three dimensional humanity is worthy of great literature. This is a favorite that I will be spreading the word and one I will revisit again in the future. As a fan of psychological suspense I was more impressed with the characters and felt warmth for most of them. Any book that expands my mind is so much more important than suspense. I am on to another book written by this phenomenal author and will be purchasing it when it becomes available on May 19, 2020. That is also my sister's birthday so I will be unable to forget.

Thank you to Net Galley, Ivy Pochoda, and to Harper Collins Publishing for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for giving a fair and honest review.

Publication Date: May 19, 2020

#TheseWomen #IvyPochoda #NetGalley #HarperCollinsPublishing
1 like


READING PROGRESS
February 27, 2020 – Shelved
February 27, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
March 2, 2020 – Started Reading
March 2, 2020 – Finished Reading

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commentadd book/author       (some html is ok)THESE WOMEN
BY IVY POCHODA

This is my second time around reviewing this fantastic new favorite reads of 2020 called "THESE WOMEN," by a master author named Ivy Pochoda. I am forever grateful to my dear friend Cheri S. for writing such a moving review which you can read here:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... Cheri has a discerning eye for choosing books and pulling out moving quotes that make me rush to read the book with her touching reviews. This book blew me away with how much it changed my perception of how we are all collectively as people more of a whole than separate souls. This is a powerful story about women and no matter what they choose as a profession due to circumstances or poverty that we are all precious with hopes and dreams and it has educated me not to judge or stereotype all the more. Ivy Pochoda has crafted a slice of culture in Los Angeles that some of the women whose vocations we may judge but her beautiful characterizations prove that all of us may not be defined by what we do to earn a living. Each person is beautiful at heart and need to be treated as if we matter. I am so grateful to have read this book because I can see more clearly that every single life is precious and I am guilty as charged for compartmentalizing women who have chosen to make choices that formerly I couldn't understand. This book is valuable in its ability for me to have more compassion in the future and recognize that nobody deserves to be defined by how they are forced to survive.

Essie is a shining example of illuminating that everyone deserves to be heard and taken seriously. She is an extremely intuitive Vice detective who takes the time to listen and she sees that everyone she takes a statement from or everyone she questions has inherent value. She was a former homicide detective that because her former partner decided she was protecting Essie about a car accident that Essie's husband caused has consequences for Essie. Her former partner has been promoted while Essie now rides a bicycle and is not taken seriously because of her height. The LAPD's blue code of silence and their their dismissing a woman named Feelia as a throwaway victim whose vernacular is off putting allows an obsessed man to go on to become a serial killer. It started in 1999 with Feelia who is a street walker who survives a vicious attack miraculously but is treated by the LAPD as not important to listen to. I loved Essie who in 2014, fifteen years later sees a link by the patterns described by many women and cares enough to look into the complaints Feelia and Dorian make.

I loved Dorian who owns a fish shack and feeds the women who come to her alley starving. Dorian like Essie sees the intrinsic value in all of humanity in all walks of life. Dorian's daughter Lecia was murdered in 1999 after tucking in an 11 year old Julianna she babysat for before going out. Dorian has so much compassion for these women especially an exotic dancer that uses drugs to help her cope with the backroom lap dances and performing sexual gratification at the club she works. Julianna tires of the life and goes home to her parents but doesn't heed Dorian's warnings of being careful. Julianna is inspired by art and uses her phone to snap pictures that captures the culture. Ivy Pochoda has changed my compartmentalizing in what these women do to survive with her beautiful and insightful characterizations in this book. She illuminates that Julianna is not defined by her choice to be an exotic dancer by painting a vivid picture making me feel that there is also depth to each of these women. They all have families who love them and are grief stricken or left motherless to fend for themselves without the means of most of us as simply as a roof over our heads and food to eat when we are hungry.

I truly felt for all of these women whose different professions that I used to also stereotype has forever altered my thinking. After reading this gripping and addictive novel while at 496 pages felt like only 200. I devoured it in one sitting and was transformed into being educated that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I was like most of the LAPD who was quick to judge that people who sell their bodies for a living are different and therefore put their suffering out of my mind. I LOVED THIS BOOK and can't wait to read her previous two novels. Even though there is a serial killer targeting these women who make their livings by something I wouldn't do, I saw them as humans just as important and I grew to care for all of them. The serial killer is someone you will never have suspected and there isn't any gratuitous graphic violence. These women are much more important than the aspect of the mystery. They all stole my heart and I cared about them more than the mystery element. They are that compelling and complex. I think a book that has the power to alter my perception and feel warmth for the characters and become so invested in their three dimensional humanity is worthy of great literature. This is a favorite that I will be spreading the word and one I will revisit again in the future. As a fan of psychological suspense I was more impressed with the characters and felt warmth for most of them. Any book that expands my mind is so much more important than suspense. I am on to another book written by this phenomenal author and will be purchasing it when it becomes available on May 19, 2020. That is also my sister's birthday so I will be unable to forget.

Thank you to Net Galley, Ivy Pochoda, and to Harper Collins Publishing for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for giving a fair and honest review.

Publication Date: May 19, 2020

#TheseWomen #IvyPochoda #NetGalley #HarperCollinsPublishing
1 like


READING PROGRESS
February 27, 2020 – Shelved
February 27, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
March 2, 2020 – Started Reading
March 2, 2020 – Finished Reading

Post a comment »COMMENTS Showing 1-1 of 1
dateDown arrow    newest »
message 1: by Cheri - rated it 5 stars5 hours, 32 min ago
CheriYes!

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commentadd book/author       (some html is ok)THESE WOMEN
BY IVY POCHODA

This is my second time around reviewing this fantastic new favorite reads of 2020 called "THESE WOMEN," by a master author named Ivy Pochoda. I am forever grateful to my dear friend Cheri S. for writing such a moving review which you can read here:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... Cheri has a discerning eye for choosing books and pulling out moving quotes that make me rush to read the book with her touching reviews. This book blew me away with how much it changed my perception of how we are all collectively as people more of a whole than separate souls. This is a powerful story about women and no matter what they choose as a profession due to circumstances or poverty that we are all precious with hopes and dreams and it has educated me not to judge or stereotype all the more. Ivy Pochoda has crafted a slice of culture in Los Angeles that some of the women whose vocations we may judge but her beautiful characterizations prove that all of us may not be defined by what we do to earn a living. Each person is beautiful at heart and need to be treated as if we matter. I am so grateful to have read this book because I can see more clearly that every single life is precious and I am guilty as charged for compartmentalizing women who have chosen to make choices that formerly I couldn't understand. This book is valuable in its ability for me to have more compassion in the future and recognize that nobody deserves to be defined by how they are forced to survive.

Essie is a shining example of illuminating that everyone deserves to be heard and taken seriously. She is an extremely intuitive Vice detective who takes the time to listen and she sees that everyone she takes a statement from or everyone she questions has inherent value. She was a former homicide detective that because her former partner decided she was protecting Essie about a car accident that Essie's husband caused has consequences for Essie. Her former partner has been promoted while Essie now rides a bicycle and is not taken seriously because of her height. The LAPD's blue code of silence and their their dismissing a woman named Feelia as a throwaway victim whose vernacular is off putting allows an obsessed man to go on to become a serial killer. It started in 1999 with Feelia who is a street walker who survives a vicious attack miraculously but is treated by the LAPD as not important to listen to. I loved Essie who in 2014, fifteen years later sees a link by the patterns described by many women and cares enough to look into the complaints Feelia and Dorian make.

I loved Dorian who owns a fish shack and feeds the women who come to her alley starving. Dorian like Essie sees the intrinsic value in all of humanity in all walks of life. Dorian's daughter Lecia was murdered in 1999 after tucking in an 11 year old Julianna she babysat for before going out. Dorian has so much compassion for these women especially an exotic dancer that uses drugs to help her cope with the backroom lap dances and performing sexual gratification at the club she works. Julianna tires of the life and goes home to her parents but doesn't heed Dorian's warnings of being careful. Julianna is inspired by art and uses her phone to snap pictures that captures the culture. Ivy Pochoda has changed my compartmentalizing in what these women do to survive with her beautiful and insightful characterizations in this book. She illuminates that Julianna is not defined by her choice to be an exotic dancer by painting a vivid picture making me feel that there is also depth to each of these women. They all have families who love them and are grief stricken or left motherless to fend for themselves without the means of most of us as simply as a roof over our heads and food to eat when we are hungry.

I truly felt for all of these women whose different professions that I used to also stereotype has forever altered my thinking. After reading this gripping and addictive novel while at 496 pages felt like only 200. I devoured it in one sitting and was transformed into being educated that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I was like most of the LAPD who was quick to judge that people who sell their bodies for a living are different and therefore put their suffering out of my mind. I LOVED THIS BOOK and can't wait to read her previous two novels. Even though there is a serial killer targeting these women who make their livings by something I wouldn't do, I saw them as humans just as important and I grew to care for all of them. The serial killer is someone you will never have suspected and there isn't any gratuitous graphic violence. These women are much more important than the aspect of the mystery. They all stole my heart and I cared about them more than the mystery element. They are that compelling and complex. I think a book that has the power to alter my perception and feel warmth for the characters and become so invested in their three dimensional humanity is worthy of great literature. This is a favorite that I will be spreading the word and one I will revisit again in the future. As a fan of psychological suspense I was more impressed with the characters and felt warmth for most of them. Any book that expands my mind is so much more important than suspense. I am on to another book written by this phenomenal author and will be purchasing it when it becomes available on May 19, 2020. That is also my sister's birthday so I will be unable to forget.

Thank you to Net Galley, Ivy Pochoda, and to Harper Collins Publishing for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for giving a fair and honest review.

Publication Date: May 19, 2020

#TheseWomen #IvyPochoda #NetGalley #HarperCollinsPublishing
1 like


READING PROGRESS
February 27, 2020 – Shelved
February 27, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
March 2, 2020 – Started Reading
March 2, 2020 – Finished Reading

Post a comment »COMMENTS Showing 1-1 of 1
dateDown arrow    newest »
message 1: by Cheri - rated it 5 stars5 hours, 32 min ago
CheriYes!

reply | delete | flag *
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You are following this discussion (instant email). Edit


commentadd book/author       (some html is ok)THESE WOMEN
BY IVY POCHODA

This is my second time around reviewing this fantastic new favorite reads of 2020 called "THESE WOMEN," by a master author named Ivy Pochoda. I am forever grateful to my dear friend Cheri S. for writing such a moving review which you can read here:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... Cheri has a discerning eye for choosing books and pulling out moving quotes that make me rush to read the book with her touching reviews. This book blew me away with how much it changed my perception of how we are all collectively as people more of a whole than separate souls. This is a powerful story about women and no matter what they choose as a profession due to circumstances or poverty that we are all precious with hopes and dreams and it has educated me not to judge or stereotype all the more. Ivy Pochoda has crafted a slice of culture in Los Angeles that some of the women whose vocations we may judge but her beautiful characterizations prove that all of us may not be defined by what we do to earn a living. Each person is beautiful at heart and need to be treated as if we matter. I am so grateful to have read this book because I can see more clearly that every single life is precious and I am guilty as charged for compartmentalizing women who have chosen to make choices that formerly I couldn't understand. This book is valuable in its ability for me to have more compassion in the future and recognize that nobody deserves to be defined by how they are forced to survive.

Essie is a shining example of illuminating that everyone deserves to be heard and taken seriously. She is an extremely intuitive Vice detective who takes the time to listen and she sees that everyone she takes a statement from or everyone she questions has inherent value. She was a former homicide detective that because her former partner decided she was protecting Essie about a car accident that Essie's husband caused has consequences for Essie. Her former partner has been promoted while Essie now rides a bicycle and is not taken seriously because of her height. The LAPD's blue code of silence and their their dismissing a woman named Feelia as a throwaway victim whose vernacular is off putting allows an obsessed man to go on to become a serial killer. It started in 1999 with Feelia who is a street walker who survives a vicious attack miraculously but is treated by the LAPD as not important to listen to. I loved Essie who in 2014, fifteen years later sees a link by the patterns described by many women and cares enough to look into the complaints Feelia and Dorian make.

I loved Dorian who owns a fish shack and feeds the women who come to her alley starving. Dorian like Essie sees the intrinsic value in all of humanity in all walks of life. Dorian's daughter Lecia was murdered in 1999 after tucking in an 11 year old Julianna she babysat for before going out. Dorian has so much compassion for these women especially an exotic dancer that uses drugs to help her cope with the backroom lap dances and performing sexual gratification at the club she works. Julianna tires of the life and goes home to her parents but doesn't heed Dorian's warnings of being careful. Julianna is inspired by art and uses her phone to snap pictures that captures the culture. Ivy Pochoda has changed my compartmentalizing in what these women do to survive with her beautiful and insightful characterizations in this book. She illuminates that Julianna is not defined by her choice to be an exotic dancer by painting a vivid picture making me feel that there is also depth to each of these women. They all have families who love them and are grief stricken or left motherless to fend for themselves without the means of most of us as simply as a roof over our heads and food to eat when we are hungry.

I truly felt for all of these women whose different professions that I used to also stereotype has forever altered my thinking. After reading this gripping and addictive novel while at 496 pages felt like only 200. I devoured it in one sitting and was transformed into being educated that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I was like most of the LAPD who was quick to judge that people who sell their bodies for a living are different and therefore put their suffering out of my mind. I LOVED THIS BOOK and can't wait to read her previous two novels. Even though there is a serial killer targeting these women who make their livings by something I wouldn't do, I saw them as humans just as important and I grew to care for all of them. The serial killer is someone you will never have suspected and there isn't any gratuitous graphic violence. These women are much more important than the aspect of the mystery. They all stole my heart and I cared about them more than the mystery element. They are that compelling and complex. I think a book that has the power to alter my perception and feel warmth for the characters and become so invested in their three dimensional humanity is worthy of great literature. This is a favorite that I will be spreading the word and one I will revisit again in the future. As a fan of psychological suspense I was more impressed with the characters and felt warmth for most of them. Any book that expands my mind is so much more important than suspense. I am on to another book written by this phenomenal author and will be purchasing it when it becomes available on May 19, 2020. That is also my sister's birthday so I will be unable to forget.

Thank you to Net Galley, Ivy Pochoda, and to Harper Collins Publishing for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for giving a fair and honest review.

Publication Date: May 19, 2020

#TheseWomen #IvyPochoda #NetGalley #HarperCollinsPublishing













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This book was odd. It was a very interesting take on the "serial killer" book that kept the threat of a killer in the background which at times made the book even more dark and terrifying. In each part we follow a different woman who is affected by the killer in some way or another. And each woman's story felt like falling deeper and deeper into madness. It was truly an excellent and well crafted book. 

The writing was entrancing and engaging and made the book hard to set aside for any period longer than a few minutes. There was something that felt uncomfortable about reading this book and the sense of voyeurism that was brought to life made the book that much better. The writing was exquisite and strange in equal measure. In all honesty I am not sure if I am allowed to like this book which makes this a very unique and wonderful reading experience. Ivy Pochoda is a formidable writer that seems to take the edges of society, the fringes of what is right and proper and extracts the darkness from there and allows it to flourish. Finishing the book is like trying to climb up from a hole pushing through cobwebs with only the hope of light somewhere guiding you. 

Each woman brought another unique thing to the page, a different sense of loss or fear or pain and anger that kept each part feeling fresh. And each woman felt more crazy than the last, in the sense that you could feel them losing their grip on reality as the chapter went and each one felt like a deeper trip into this madness which I loved. I loved that each part of the book and each woman brought us closer and closer to wrapping up who the serial killer is. I also really appreciated the soft edges each woman had, Dorian's love of cooking and feeding her neighborhood, Julianna's love of finding the beauty in all things, Marella's desperate desire to be understood. It brought a different layer to each of them that helped to flesh them out. 

This book was far from what I was expecting it to be and although I wasn't sure as I was reading if I was really going to like it or not the more I read and the more I couldn't tear myself away the more I enjoyed it. This is a solid 4 stars for me and one I will be recommending. It's like reading a mind bending dream. I am here for it.
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Pochoda covers a lot of familiar territory in this story of women in a gentrifying neighborhood in South Los Angeles that may or may not be plagued by a serial killer. Her characters are broadly drawn and conventional within the genre - the angry wife with a secret; the mother who lost a child and is trying to take care of others as a consequence, whether or not they want to be cared for by her; the sex worker who takes pictures of her life that show the seamy underbelly with an artistic clarity that another artist wishes she could copy or capture. I enjoyed reading this, especially the woman detective with the troubled past because I am a known sucker for this type of character, but the tune was a little too familiar and prosaic.
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In 1999, thirteen females in the West Adams section of South Central Los Angeles were brutally murdered. Most of the victims were sex workers, the one exception being a teenage babysitter named Lecia, who was the killer's last victim. The perpetrator wasn't caught and some people think the cops didn't try too hard because the women were 'throwaways.' 

Fifteen years later, in 2014, prostitutes in West Adams are being murdered again, in the same manner as before. The cops resist the idea that a serial killer is active again and they CERTAINLY don't want the new deaths connected to those in 1999.

The story, which focuses on six women in West Adams, is set in 2014, with flashbacks to 1999.

- Feelia was a streetwalker in 1999, but gave up the life after surviving a deadly attack. The incident seems to have disturbed Feelia's mind because she insists a white woman started stalking her right after the assault, and is still haunting her fifteen years later. Feelia shrieks and carries on whenever she 'sees' the woman, and shouts at people who try to shut her up.

- Dorian is the mother of Lecia, the last girl killed in 1999. Dorian's spent years haunting the police station, insisting her daughter wasn't a prostitute, and exhorting them to find the killer. The grieving mother owns a fried fish shop in West Adams and feeds local streetwalkers who drop in. Now Dorian has been finding dead birds outside her restaurant, and thinks someone is trying to frighten her.

- Julianna was the child being babysat by Lecia on the night the teen was slain. Now Julianna is grown up, a strip club waitress who provides 'extra services' in the back. Julianna drinks and uses drugs to get through the day, and fears she'll never be able to get out of the debasing lifestyle. Julianna's hobby is photography, and she constantly snaps pictures of her prostitute friends, documenting the bleakness of their lives.

- Anneke is a married El Salvadoran woman who immigrated to Los Angeles with her husband and young daughter. The family is solidly middle class and Anneke wants nothing to do with (what she sees as) undesirable elements in the neighborhood. Anneke is obsessed with keeping her home and life in perfect order, and she sent her daughter Marella away to school to keep her safe. 

- Marella is Anneke's daughter, now in her twenties and an art school graduate. Marella does performance art as well as modern installations with moving images. Marella is living with her parents in West Adams, but has spent so much time away that she's almost a stranger to the area. Marella has bad memories of her life in El Salvador, and her art often depicts women as victims of sexual and physical violence. 

- Esmerelda (Essie) Perry is a police detective who moved from homicide to vice after an unfortunate incident. The male cops in Perry's station steer the 'nuisance complaints' her way, so she gets to hear Feelia's allegations of a stalker and Dorian's report about dead birds. As Perry is looking into these complaints she makes discoveries about the serial killer.

The book doesn't focus on the identity of the serial killer, though that is revealed. The novel is more a character study than a murder mystery and Pochoda's portrayal of the six main characters, and the people around them, is vivid and perceptive - so we get a feel for the factors that shaped their lives. 

We also get a peek at the ambiance of West Adams: the clubs; the streets; the bridges; the former mansions split into apartments; the nosy neighbors; the commercial establishments; the mixture of people; and so on.

Pochoda is a master storyteller and this is an excellent book. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Ivy Pochoda), and the publisher (HarperCollins Publishers/Ecco) for a copy of the book.
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4.5 Stars

”It’s all about how we do in the dark.
You know about that? You know anything about that?
You know the streets? Do you? You’re really not going to say anything?”

This story begins in the past, in 1999, the year the first bodies of these women took place, and travels back and forth between 1999 and 2014, when there seems to be reason to believe it might be happening again. The police had categorized all of the women in 1999 as prostitutes, but Dorian knows her daughter, the 13th of the 13 murders in 1999, was just babysitting, and yet the police can’t be bothered to check the facts.

Dorian owns a small fish shack, a place where the local teen girls come to hang out, flaunting their youthful bodies, rolling up the skirts of their uniforms, and Dorian can’t help but remember the days her Lecia was that age, and alive.

We are led through the stories of each woman, their lives and the sorrows that permeate their lives; their dreams, as well as the nightmares they’ve endured, while their omnipresent gritty world shows us the realities of the lives of these women – both the ones who have lived through enormous sorrow, and those who have perished in the dark and dangerous corners of this Los Angeles neighborhood.
Enter Essie Perry, a female cop who Dorian is sent to speak to about the dead hummingbirds being left at her home and work – mainly because the male cops don’t want to deal with this woman, with her dead daughter or these dead birds. But Perry actually finds it unlikely that these two things are completely unrelated. But is she right?

Dorian is only one of the narrators in this story, Essie is another, and then there is Feelia, the only one to survive the 1999 attacks, a woman who still has the scars from it. Julianna, one of the neighborhood girls, who seems to be pulled into the life of a “working girl.” There is also a mother and daughter, Marella and Anneke. Mareiella, an aspiring artist, Anneke a woman who seems to feel like this country will never be home to her, and so keeps to herself, trying to keep herself, her family, her home and life in order.

This story unravels slowly, and while we hear the stories of these women, and they share their individual stories, their stories blend into the shared story shared as though it is this neighborhood that is looking over them all – and sharing their dreams for the future and their sorrows from the past.

After reading Pochoda’s Visitation Street, which I loved, and Wonder Valley, which I enjoyed, I was looking forward to reading this - despite the fact that I’m not typically drawn to “mysteries” or “thrillers,” but then again Pochoda’s stories tend to avoid the gory and scarier details of most thrillers. Instead, she tends to share these stories from an omniscient viewpoint, and unravels the mystery slowly, through some stunning writing, which I loved.


Pub Date: 19 May 2020

Many thanks for the ARC provided by HarperCollins Publishers / Ecco
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This is one of those books that deals with the dark side of drugs, prostitution, and the underbelly of LA that is riveting and revolting all at once.
These women dealt with a number of different women-their lives, struggles, and their families left behind which include a mother of a murder victim, a police officer, a dancer, an artist and a wife.
The characters felt disconnected until the tail end when they come together because of several brutal murders.
The violence, the danger, the desperation, the ignorance of the people around them all led to one commonality and it was deadly.
It was also a different format in which you felt like you were present and being witness to the action live but also the descriptions felt contrived at times and stereotypical which was offsetting.
All in all not a bad piece so crack it open and get reading!
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I discovered Ivy when I bought a copy of Wonder Valley. Ivy is an excellent writer and I think These Women would make a great Netflix series.
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