Violet Hart is a photographer. She has artistic aspirations, but mostly she shoots weddings and bar mitzvahs to survive. She can't find a subject that would set her apart. And then she does. Young black men. Dead ones. She has access because she's dating the owner of a mortuary, and she takes the first picture because he asks her to, for the family of the dead man. When she sees the prints, she knows she's onto something.
She also meets a young man named Derek on Belle Isle. Derek's an artist, too, in his own way, making installations in the park. She asks him to let her know if he finds anything edgy. He finds hands and feet and a torso.
As Abbott would admit, Violet's not a very nice person, but she's not a hateful person. She struggles with what she's doing. Is it art that she's trying to achieve, or is it personal success? Is she exploiting the dead for her own gain, or is there more to it? As her backstory is parceled out over the course of the novel, Violet learns a lot about herself and her past that helps explain both what she's doing and why it's even more important to her than she realizes at first.
Shot in Detroit has scope and ambition. It's one of those books that will stick with you long after you close the covers. Check it out.