Friday, June 18, 2010

A Twisted Ladder - A Fun Climb into New Orleans Magic!

Title/Author: A Twisted Ladder by Rhodi Hawk.

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates.

Released: December, 2009.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Spooky.

Source: Purchased at Borders after I read a good review in Rue Morgue Magazine.

Favorite quote: “Instead the midnight hour came as a whisper.”

“But fear ain’t nothing but what you get when you’ve yet to understand.”

Favorite character: Daddy Blank, Madeleine’s father. He sprang to life off the page and I wish I had known him.

All in all: Suspenseful and Spooky!

What I liked: A book that takes place in New Orleans? (Happy sigh). A spooky book that takes place in New Orleans? Even better! I enjoyed being in “The Big Easy” with the author. Walking in the French Quarter, traveling on the bayous, listening to Cajun accents. I even learned a little bit of history about the area and about the Intercoastal Waterway.

This book was a supernatural thriller complete with murders and spirits. I loved the spooky parts and they were described in a way that let me suspend my disbelief. I have never heard of River Devils or River Magic before and appreciated this unique aspect of the story. It made sense to me that the characters borrowed magic from the powerful water forces that were all around them.

The main character Dr. Madeleine LeBlanc is trying to help her schizophrenic father by finding the key to his type of mental illness. What she discovers is that her father may not be mentally ill at all but a victim of a haunting, a puppet of malevolent creatures that live in a veil beyond what we can see in this world. She realizes that her brother was also a victim and as she gets closer and closer to this other world she realizes she is in danger also.

SPOILER ALERT* But then in another turnabout, the whole notion of hauntings, ghosts and psychic ability is explained as being tied to a person’s brain neurons and evolution. So the theory shifted back to science again. May not be the way I would go, but it was explained to my satisfaction. *END SPOILER ALERT.  I felt that Hawk revealed mysteries and intertwined characters and events with skill. There are several story arcs, but I wasn’t confused at all and I felt that the events pertained to each other well.

Throughout the novel Madeleine tries to solve family secrets, find out the intentions of her great grandmother, Chloe, and fend off the attentions of childhood pal, Zenon, who has a few secrets of his own.

I also liked the parallel story that took place in the 20s. It gave the present day story a mirror as to what was happening and insight into Chloe’s intentions.

What I didn’t like: I thought it was a little long. Towards the end I was getting impatient as to how everything was going to be tied up and honestly, I didn’t love the resolution.  I felt that the payoff wasn’t as large as the rest of the book.  The last chapter alluded to a sequel which frustrated me. I also didn’t really like the sex scene. I felt it went on too long and was a bit over the top. SPOILER ALERT* The other thing that bothered me was that the author didn’t seem to explore Madeleine’s feelings regarding the death of her father. Yes, she cried and got murderously angry at one point, but these were actions. I wanted to feel her sorrow as I felt it when her brother died. Maybe it was because I was so personally attached to Daddy Blank and I felt I had no one to mourn with in a way. *END SPOILER ALERT.

Despite what I didn't like I still give this book 4 out of 5 stars because what I did like was so strong.


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