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Cover Reveal: KILL HER TWICE

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl comes a YA murder mystery noir set in 1930s Los Angeles’s Chinatown. Get ready for Stacey Lee’s Kill Her Twice, coming to shelves April 23, 2024! Preorder your copy here.

Los Angeles, 1932: Lulu Wong, star of the silver screen and the pride of Chinatown, has a face known to practically anyone, especially to the Chow sisters—May, Gemma, and Peony—Lulu’s former classmates and neighbors. So the girls instantly know it’s Lulu whose body they discover one morning in an out-of-the-way stable, far from the Beverly Hills mansion where she moved once her fame skyrocketed.

The sisters suspect Lulu’s death is the result of foul play, but the LAPD—known for being corrupt to the core—doesn’t seem motivated to investigate. Even worse, there are signs that point to the possibility of a police cover-up, and powerful forces in the city want to frame the killing as evidence that Chinatown is a den of iniquity and crime, even more reason it should be demolished to make room for the construction of a new railway depot, Union Station.

Worried that neither the police nor the papers will treat a Chinese girl fairly—no matter how famous and wealthy—the sisters set out to solve their friend’s murder themselves, and maybe save their neighborhood in the bargain. But with Lulu’s killer still on the loose, the girls’ investigation just might put them square in the crosshairs of a coldblooded murderer.

Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek!

Cover art by Jeremy Enecio

Cover design by Theresa Evangelista

Lulu had been two years ahead of me in school, but a school play brought us together when I was nearly twelve, and she, fourteen. I played a fence, and she, a willow tree, which meant we did a lot of standing. After the play was over, she invited me to the two-room flat where she lived with her ma and her younger sister. “Since I know you can make wood interesting, would you like to recite some plays with me?”

She’d stage our plays, and I did the costumes. Two years later, we learned of an upcoming role for a Chinese girl in a movie. The ‘oriental’ look had grown popular in the movie industry. Agents in big Cadillacs even trolled our streets for extras.

“Let’s audition,” she had begged me, her signature ‘tiger-charming’ mole by her lip bright as an evening star. “What do we have to lose?”

I had looked at her in surprise. Lots of folks considered girls in show business to be loose in the morals, even hussies. Perhaps she didn’t care. She’d survived scandal before, after her no-account father took his delivery truck and lit out for Nevada when Lulu was twelve and her younger sister just out of diapers.

That was the first time I shunned the call of the silver screen. I could never bring shame to my family. By the time Lulu was eighteen, she’d moved her Ma and younger sister out of Chinatown and now they all lived together in Hollywood with the other movie stars.


My mind floated back to the last time I had seen Lulu six months ago at the White Horse joss house. After nabbing her first role at age sixteen, I hadn’t seen her much, and then not at all when she’d moved to Beverly Hills. I’d just refilled the gold bowls in the main temple with fresh camelia—something Ba made us do every week. In the adjacent ancestral hall, a figure in a dark jacket and silk head scarf bowed at the altar. Leaving her to her privacy, I exited to the courtyard, which featured a fountain centered by a horse.

“May?” Lulu Wong pushed back her scarf.

“Lulu. How are you?” I set down my bucket, reaching out to embrace her, then pulling back. Now that she was a big star, perhaps it was inappropriate.

To my surprise, she pulled me close, placing a kiss on my cheek. “I’m well.”

Her smooth brow with its straight hairline furrowed. “You are a hard person to reach.”

I murmured an apology, remembering the call I hadn’t returned, and the letter I’d answered but never mailed. Somehow, I convinced myself that her new life did not leave room for her old one.

“I think about you often, May. I miss our times together. In fact, I was thinking you might like to be an extra on my next film. The pay’s five dollars a day. It’s not bad, since it’s mostly just standing around.”

Five dollars was more than what we made a day doing the hot work of selling flowers.

“And think of the opportunities. I’d introduce you to people, people with influence. We need more girls like us in the industry. I know you’re good, May. You’re a natural. Don’t tell me you don’t love it. Are you still checking in with your emotions?”

We’d made it a habit of checking in on our emotions regularly, to make them easier to access when we were on stage. “Yes. Right now, I’m ‘stunned’.”

“Well, I’m ‘delighted.’” She winked.

“Hollywood must be exciting.” I bit my tongue, realizing how foolish that sounded. “I mean all the people you must be meeting—”

“I didn’t love it at first.” She wended her scarf around her arm. “I was being treated like a circus pony, trotted out, petted and fawned over. But I got tired of other people holding the reins. So I took them back. Act like you have power, and you just might get it.”

“Okay,” I murmured, though I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.

“Promise you’ll call me next week.” She handed me her card. “We’ll get together.”

“Of course,” I had said, though I couldn’t imagine her in her exquisite French pantsuit perched atop our worn couch any more than I could imagine me in my homespun dress atop her modern chaise longue. 

Ba had been given his diagnosis the following week, and I never called.

Penguin Teen