Incendiary ... A narcocorrido-infused crime tale that nods to westerns, Shakespeare, Greek tragedy and Joan Didion, among others ... As palpably immersive as Pochoda makes prison life in the first part of the novel, her writing deepens when the action shifts to COVID-ravaged Los Angeles ... Pochoda writes with insight and empathy about women pushing back on the violence perpetrated against them — and also, conversely, their shame at their inability to act ... While the first part of the novel, depicting prison violence, may be tough going for some readers, Sing Her Down’s acknowledgment and dissection of women’s rage — how it can overwhelm or be tempered — makes it a watershed achievement in Pochoda’s expanding body of work.
Pochoda captures a locked-down L.A. with her signature vivid, gritty prose ... Redundancies are symptomatic of a tunnel vision dogging Sing Her Down, a novel whose narrow focus grants it a combustible intensity, but also forces its images, ideas and characters to play the same notes on repeat. Ruminations on violence go stale from iteration ... Pochoda is gutsy enough to tell us the cross streets of the final confrontation on the second page. 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 that its flaws can’t extinguish.
A bleak setting to be sure, but brilliantly explored as Pochoda burrows deep into her characters’ psyche ... Pochoda sifts through myriad literary tropes, including allusions to Macbeth, mythology, even a bit of a Greek chorus, while not losing sight that Sing Her Down is a crime novel ... Her staccato writing further elevates the novel and is reminiscent of James Ellroy’s style, only more refined.
Pochoda’s evocation of the Old West with a couple of desperados on the run is flawlessly executed with each gritty page in this contemporary thriller, but she goes a step further in allowing the rage of her female protagonists to take center stage.
Pochoda unleashes a combination of raw energy and poignant loss in Sing Her Down, a ferocious, feminist western ... Pochoda's succinct, tense prose sets readers balancing on a tightrope from the start ... A pulse-pounding western with a devastating message about the oft-forgotten explosions made by women the world tries hard not to see.
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 ... Awful people doing awful things in an awful place and time, plus talking ghosts and walking murals.
Devastating ... 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.