A Twisted Ladder

Rhodi Hawk, Author . Forge $14.99 (540p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2373-6

Hawk's promising debut, a Southern gothic thriller, introduces Dr. Madeleine LeBlanc, a staff psychologist at New Orleans's Tulane University with a special interest in cognitive schizophrenia. Maddy's father, “Daddy Blank,” suffers from the disease, as does her brother, Marc, whose suicide leads Maddy, who fears she may also be schizophrenic after psychic visits from a “devil-child,” to probe her family's past. Tulane neurologist Ethan Manderleigh provides support as terrible secrets surface about the family sugarcane plantation. Maddy's discovery that a creepy childhood friend is a murderer complicates her quest. Flashbacks to Prohibition-era New Orleans chart the early life of Maddy's clairvoyant, mean-spirited 114-year-old great-grandmother, Chloe, who's rather too spry for her age, despite her magical gifts. Voodoo and scientific research into neuroplasticity make an intriguing, if not always easy, mix. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/13/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Mass Market Paperbound - 530 pages - 978-0-7653-6018-2
Ebook - 544 pages - 978-1-4299-5207-1
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