“Wonder Valley,” the third novel from author Ivy Pochoda, begins with a classic Los Angeles tableau: a chase on the 101, complete with a police helicopter, camera-toting news crews and spectators recording the spectacle on their smartphones. But this chase is different. For one thing, it’s not a car speeding down the freeway, it’s a young man on foot. It’s also not immediately clear who, if anyone, is in pursuit of him. And the man happens to be completely naked. The police are unable to catch him, but one observer surmises that his freedom is likely short-lived: “Because no one can vanish for good. Not in Los Angeles. Not with so many people watching.” Things get even weirder, and much darker, from there. “Wonder Valley” follows several people on the edge, most paying in some way for poor decisions they’ve made, whose lives intersect in surprising and at times terrifying ways. It’s a dizzying, kaleidoscopic thriller that refuses to let readers look away from the dark side of Southern California. Pochoda has a real gift for pacing, and she’s a remarkably psychologically astute writer. Pochoda’s novel goes back and forth in time, alternating between 2006 and 2010, when the naked man sets out on his unusual marathon. The first character we’re introduced to is Tony, a dissatisfied attorney; he and his social-climbing wife “have a tenuous grip on the city’s glamour.” Tony is stuck in traffic on the 101 when he sees the naked man run by, and, for reasons he has trouble articulating, gets out of his car and chases after him. Soon after, young Ren makes his appearance. He’s recently been released from juvenile detention in New York, where he was doing time for killing a man when he was 12. He’s come to Los Angeles to find his mother, Laila, who moved across the country while Ren was imprisoned. His time in custody has left him somewhat hard and somewhat shaken: “Kill someone at age twelve,” he reflects, and things “don’t really start haunting you until you understand what life is, how breakable people are.” Ren tracks down his mother on skid row, and he’s heartbroken by what she’s become. Similarly haunted is Blake, on the run from the law with his partner in crime,