‘The Mars Room’ takes readers inside California’s prison system

The novel “The Mars Room” follows Romy Hall, an ex-stripper who’s arrested for killing her stalker when he suddenly shows up on her back porch in Echo Park. With a sub-par lawyer and an unsympathetic jury, Romy gets two consecutive life sentences, plus six years for child endangerment. Her young son was asleep in the house at the time of the murder. The novel begins on a bus headed for the fictional Stanfield Correction Facility in the Central Valley, where Romy meets her fellow inmates and is introduced to the California prison system.