Sing Her Down: A Novel

Sing Her Down: A Novel

Unabridged — 8 hours, 33 minutes

Sing Her Down: A Novel

Sing Her Down: A Novel

Unabridged — 8 hours, 33 minutes

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Notes From Your Bookseller

A haunting thriller featuring two women, their collective rage, and a shared past that haunts them both.

This program features multicast narration.

“I read everything Ivy Pochoda writes. Her capture of the complexities, diversities, and insanities of today's life and culture is next to none. I loved Sing Her Down. The world will too.” -Michael Connelly, author of Desert Star

No Country for Old Men meets Killing Eve in this gritty, feminist Western thriller from the award-winning author of These Women.

Florence "Florida" Baum is not the hapless innocent she claims to be when she arrives at the Arizona women's prison-or so her ex-cellmate, Diosmary Sandoval, keeps insinuating.

Dios knows the truth about Florida's crimes, understands the truth that Florence hides even from herself: that she wasn't a victim of circumstance, an unlucky bystander misled by a bad man. Dios knows that darkness lives in women too, despite the world's refusal to see it. And she is determined to open Florida's eyes and unleash her true self.

When an unexpected reprieve gives both women their freedom, Dios's fixation on Florida turns into a dangerous obsession, and a deadly cat-and-mouse chase ensues from Arizona to the desolate streets of Los Angeles.

With blistering, incisive prose, the award-winning author Ivy Pochoda delivers a razor-sharp Western. Gripping and immersive, Sing Her Down is a spellbinding thriller setting two indelible women on a path to certain destruction and an epic, stunning showdown.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 03/20/2023

This devastating thriller from Pochoda (These Women) examines the brutal politics inside an Arizona women’s penitentiary and the bleak mid-Covid landscape outside it. The first section focuses on three inmates: Kace, who is haunted by voices of the dead; Florida, a wealthy young white woman who was an accessory to murder, driving the getaway car while high; and Dios, Florida’s former cellmate, who’s determined to make Florida admit she’s no better than anyone else in their situation. Due to the strain of the pandemic, Florida and Dios are released from their sentences early and flee parole on a bus to Los Angeles. On the way, the pair makes one bad decision after another, garnering the attention of Lobos, a detective who wrestles with her own guilt and rage after surviving domestic violence; their explosive interplay takes up the back half of the action. In muscular prose, Pochoda plumbs the psychological depths of her fascinating characters and extracts high drama from their shifting allegiances. This searing, accomplished page-turner deserves a wide audience. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, InkWell Management. (May)

From the Publisher

A Barnes & Noble Mystery & Thriller Pick

An Elle Best Book of the Summer

An Apple Best Book of May

A Most Anticipated Book from BookPage, SPY, Lit Hub, and Paste Magazine

"Pochoda captures a locked-down L.A. with her signature vivid, gritty prose . . . When the big showdown arrives, it is as brutal and beautiful as the landscape in which it unfolds. There’s a fire in this novel."

—Alexis Schaitkin, The New York Times

"Pochoda’s neo-western thriller makes for a wild, revelatory ride, one that’s rich with complex characters and an acerbic social critique that won’t soon be forgotten."

Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads

"A thoroughly entertaining, mean-as-a-snake modern Western, Sing Her Down hits like a shotgun blast."

—Dennis Lehane, author of Small Mercies

"A haunting thriller featuring two women, their collective rage, and a shared past that haunts them both."

—Barnes & Noble Staff Pick

"Sing Her Down proves Pochoda can occupy any voice, any time, any place, pushing her characters to the type of reckoning that would make Flannery O’Connor proud . . . Sing Her Down is Ivy’s most brilliant work yet, and Ms. Pochoda shows no indication of stopping her rise any time soon."

—Matthew Coleman Turbeville, CrimeReads

“Harrowing . . . Ms. Pochoda fuses elements of several subgenres—psychological thriller, procedural novel, hard-boiled crime saga, even magical-realism fable—to craft an imaginative chronicle of an apocalyptic season. Like the damaged souls that populate its pages, the book defies pigeonholing. Sing Her Down is unforgettable.”

—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

"Pochoda has delivered another brutal blow in her latest, an existential western that starts with a jailbreak and rip-roars its way through a threatening landscape . . . Pochoda demonstrates keen insight into the minds and hearts of desperate people . . . she never misses a shot."

—Lisa Levy, The Washington Post

"Pochoda writes with insight and empathy about women pushing back on the violence perpetrated against them . . . she continues to grow in her power to engage readers far beyond the overused tropes of the crime genre, rising to the heights of other writers [like Cormac McCarthy] whose work does not shy away from evil or bloodshed."

—Paula Woods, LA Times


—Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today

“Brave and brilliant writing . . . Sing Her Down ends with the description of a mural that seems to memorialize the final interaction of [the main characters]. People swear they see the mural move, that the mural is alive. So is this challenging, singular novel.”

—Carlo Wolff, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"One of the best crime novels in recent years . . . Sing Her Down is a real accomplishment, a novel that interrogates the violence inherent in both the American carceral system and society as a whole."

—Michael Schaub, Alta

"Ivy Pochoda writes with style, and often with nuance. Sing Her Down is . . . a fast, stylish read that will likely please her fans."

—Doreen Sheridan, Criminal Element

"Gripping, relentless . . . Sing Her Down is brutal and chaotic and entertaining, but somewhere down deep there’s a tiny beating heart with a few wise things to say about guilt and growth."

—Patrick Rapa, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A haunting noir thriller stretching from Arizona up to the California coast, Sing Her Down follows prison cellmates Florida and Dios, and the dark truths Dios hopes to draw from her new friend. When both women are released, Dios chases Florida to Los Angeles in this hot, propulsive new book from the author of These Women.”

—Lauren Puckett-Pope, Elle

"Sing Her Down, Pochoda’s tour de force, looks at the rage women may carry, why a person would abandon a comfortable, middle-class living for crime and violence . . . Her staccato writing further elevates the novel and is reminiscent of James Ellroy’s style, only more refined [with a] powerful finale."

—Oline H. Cogdill, Sun Sentinel

“We’re obsessed with Ivy Pochoda, whose previous books Wonder Valley and Visitation Street crackled with menace and energy . . . Pochoda’s writing is both poetic and violent, just like the story itself, and her searing, detailed descriptions make post apocalyptic L.A. feel like a character of its own. We loved this dark, page-turning read.”

Apple Books

“A gritty thriller with a fiery heart, Sing Her Down is a pulse-pounding western with a devastating message about the oft-forgotten explosions made by women the world tries hard not to see.”

—Alice Martin, Shelf Awareness

“Since 2013’s Visitation Street, Pochoda’s gotten better with every book. I don’t know what she’s got up her sleeve for the next one, but it’s going to be tough to top this full-blooded western noir about two women who break out of prison during the pandemic and the detective on their tail. This thing goes big and loud and makes no apologies.”

—Jonathan Segura, Publishers Weekly

“Beautiful, affecting, and completely impossible to put down . . . Ivy Pochoda can continue to write just about anything, and I’ll continue to wait eagerly to read whatever she gives us next.”

—Fiona Cook, Mystery & Suspense

"Visceral descriptions of everything from the proliferation of homeless encampments to the simmering emotions of her characters distinguish Pochoda's latest, intense novel."


"In muscular prose, Pochoda plumbs the psychological depths of her fascinating characters and extracts high drama from their shifting allegiances. This searing, accomplished page-turner deserves a wide audience."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Ivy Pochoda’s new novel, Sing Her Down, [is] a meditation on violence and women that is noir of the blackest variety.”

—Sam Sifton, The New York Times e-newsletter

“Ivy Pochoda’s new thriller sounds like a Western version of Killing Eve, which is something we never knew we needed but now need desperately.”

Book Page

“Ivy Pochoda is one of the great writers of today, crime or otherwise, although luckily for me, she writes pure noir . . . I will be spending my holidays reading this amazing new novel so that I can recommend it to you all in far more detail come the new year. You’re welcome, my darlings (although reading this book is truly the opposite of sacrifice).”

—Molly Odintz, CrimeReads

"The women of Sing Her Down, and all of Pochoda’s novels, are anything but small."

—Giuliana Mayo, KCRW

Sing Her Down is that rare novel that explodes your expectations from the very first page and goes on doing so until the end. Ivy Pochoda finds these characters at the root of their pain and desire. The prose is flayed and taut, the iconic episodes just keep stacking up, and the entirety has the epic intensity of a murder ballad.”

—Jonathan Lethem, author of The Arrest

“I read everything Ivy Pochoda writes. Her capture of the complexities, diversities, and insanities of today’s life and culture is next to none. I loved Sing Her Down. The world will too.”

—Michael Connelly, author of Desert Star

“Urgent, haunting, and fearless, Ivy Pochoda’s Sing Her Down has the grit and guile of Rachel Kushner, but with a ferocious empathy all Pochoda’s own. Pochoda proves herself a singular portraitist of Los Angeles, and Sing Her Down is her most ambitious and accomplished novel yet.”

—Megan Abbott, author of The Turnout

“Ivy Pochoda once again writes with empathy about a world of unseen, unheard women—this time, two former cellmates whose lives remain entangled after their sudden release from prison. Sing Her Down is a stunning thriller, at once beautiful and gritty. Pochoda is a major talent.”

—Alafair Burke, The New York Times bestselling author of Find Me

Sing Her Down is an incantation, a hallucination, a fiery odyssey of women taking back the power stolen and leached from body and mind, while their souls got harder and harder—like diamonds. Ivy Pochoda's women inhabit a world everyone should walk into with them, a universe everyone should know.”

—Susan Straight, author of Mecca

June 2023 - AudioFile

Sophie Amoss, Kimberly Wetherell, Frankie Corzo, and Victoria Villarreal expertly play off of each other's narrations to bring unrelenting suspense to this gritty Western. After Florence "Florida" Baum and Diosmary Sandoval are released from prison, they engage in a cross-state game of cat and mouse. Dios is as obsessed with pulling a violent truth out of Florida as Florida is about hiding from that truth. Chased by law enforcement and their pasts, the two face their final confrontation on the streets of Los Angeles. From the start, listeners know Florida and Dios are on a path to destruction, but the vocal performances make it nearly impossible to look away. And Wetherell's gripping narration of the still-imprisoned Kace, the pseudo-mystical storyteller, grounds the story overall. A.A.H. © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

Two women with bad blood between them get out of jail during the pandemic and head for more trouble.

Pochoda has carved a place for herself in California noir—and her lockdown Los Angeles is about as noir as it gets, a hellscape overrun by homeless encampments, contagion, and violence. Florence “Florida” Baum and Diana Diosmary “Dios” Sandoval both receive early release from their sentences due to Covid-19. By jailhouse reputation, Florida is a party girl who got in too deep, Dios a ruthless force of nature (though her criminal career began when she was a scholarship student at a fancy New England college). Amid a riot during their incarceration, a woman who was cellmates with each of them at different times was murdered; their shared responsibility for the death has put them at odds. Florida wants nothing to do with Dios; Dios thinks they are bound for life. Shortly after both go on the run from their two-week quarantine, another murder is committed, and soon a female LAPD officer named Lobos is on their trail. The story is laid out in shifting perspectives, with much of the plot conveyed either in awkward dialogue, by a Greek chorus–type character back at the jail, or by clunky internal ruminations. “When do you become the thing you’ve kept at bay? When do you become the abused or the abuser?…When do you become the person for whom violence is easily within arm’s reach?" These questions are very personal to Officer Lobos as she is being stalked by her mentally ill husband, a subplot that is one very heavy cherry on top of this nasty sundae. Lobos is also in a debate with her police partner about just how violent women can be; Pochoda’s point seems to be there’s no limit. Neither Florida nor Dios feels much like a real person (thank God), and there’s little suspense as they move toward their dark outcome, which is immortalized in a mural described in the first pages of the book.

Awful people doing awful things in an awful place and time, plus talking ghosts and walking murals.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176974836
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication date: 05/23/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,382
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