A dead woman’s cherished trinkets become pieces to a terrifying puzzle.
Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain—twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.
But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.
It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
“This cleverly plotted, surprise-filled novel offers well-drawn and original characters, lively dialogue, and a refreshing take on the serial killer theme. Hall continues to impress.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A mystery/thriller/coming-of-age story you won’t be able to put down till the final revelation.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Deeply moving, Villa’s debut fills a longstanding need in LGBTQ+ literature for more Latinx characters and a love story between two BIPOC characters. A lovely, important book that deserves a wide readership.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Tense and pacey, with an appealing central character, this is a coming-of-age story as well as a gripping mystery.” —The Guardian
“The mystery plots are twisty and grabby, but also worth noting is the realistic rendering of a Black L.A. neighborhood locked in a battle over gentrification.” —Los Angeles Times
“Rachel Howzell Hall…just gets better and better with each book.” —CrimeReads
“Rachel Howzell Hall continues to shatter the boundaries of crime fiction through the sheer force of her indomitable talent. These Toxic Things is a master class in tension and suspense. You think you are ready for it. But. You. Are. Not.” —S. A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland
“These Toxic Things is taut and terrifying, packed with page-turning suspense and breathtaking reveals. But what I loved most is the mother-daughter relationship at the heart of this gripping thriller. Plan on reading it twice: once because you won’t be able to stop, and the second time to savor the razor’s edge balance of plot and poetry that only Rachel Howzell Hall can pull off.” —Jess Lourey, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things
“The brilliant Rachel Howzell Hall becomes the queen of mind games with this twisty and thought-provoking cat-and-mouse thriller. Where memories are weaponized, keepsakes are deadly, and the past gets ugly when you disturb it. As original, compelling, and sinister as a story can be, with a message that will haunt you long after you race through the pages.” —Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Life
Rachel Howzell Hall, author of the bestseller and Anthony-, ITW- and Lefty 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 currently on the board of directors for the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and lives in Los Angeles. Her next novel AND NOW SHE'S GONE (Forge) will be published in September 2020.
A featured writer on NPR’s acclaimed ‘Crime in the City’ series and the National Endowment for the Arts weekly podcast, Rachel has also served as a mentor in AWP’s Writer to Writer Program and is currently on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. She was named one of Apple iBooks' "10 Authors to Read in 2017." She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.