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When the beloved pop star Jasmine is found murdered in the Hollywood Hills, the police know they want to interview her stalker, a former girlfriend: Barbara Ross. But Barbara, who was a punk rocker in the early days of the movement in L.A., is now bedridden and dying of cancer. Her sister, a retired ballerina, says it's not possible that Barbara could have any involvement. As she navigates a media circus, an onslaught of well-wishers and police interrogations, Barbara's sister relives their rivalry and Barbara reconsiders her regrets and responsibility.
Bedridden former punk rocker Barbara Ross, the narrator of this exceptionally thoughtful murder mystery from LaForge (The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War), has been fighting what is likely terminal breast cancer for six years. On top of struggling with pain and regret about her life choices, Barbara becomes the subject of police interest and intense media scrutiny following the murder of a high school friend, rock star Jasmine, while jogging in the Hollywood Hills. The news is broken to Barbara by her older sister, a retired ballerina, whose being unnamed heightens ambiguity about the reliability of Barbara’s memories. The intense scrutiny, which includes speculation that Barbara was somehow responsible for the killing despite her infirmity, continues, even after a homeless man is found with Jasmine’s blood on his clothing. LaForge keeps readers wondering what the truth is while balancing a whodunit with a deep look at the complex relationship between two sisters. Fans of Heather Gudenkauf’s These Things Hidden will be pleased. (Feb.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated this book was self-published.