Nevada Barr, Author
Nevada Barr, Author . Perseus/Vanguard $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59315-553-7
Reviewed on: 08/24/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009

Reaching beyond her successful Anna Pigeon series (Borderline , etc.), bestseller Barr comes up with the brass ring: a stand-alone psychological thriller with grit, teeth and heart. At 15, Polly Farmer escapes an alcoholic mother and a trailer-park no-future, hitchhikes to New Orleans and makes a life for herself as an English professor. Polly, divorced with two daughters, romantically intersects with handsome restoration architect Marshall Marchand—who's really Dylan Raines, who was incarcerated as the 11-year-old “Butcher Boy” who axe-murdered his parents 25 years earlier in Minnesota. As Barr artfully unfolds this mystery of wickedness and pain in eerie post-Katrina New Orleans, she tackles a multitude of societal evils, from psychiatric drug abuse to the juvenile justice system, but her central conflict, Polly's fierce determination to keep her daughters safe while trying to believe in the man she loves, makes this a terrifying, utterly convincing glimpse into the abyss. (Oct.)

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