cover image The Casquette Girls

The Casquette Girls

Alys Arden. FortheARTofit Publishing, $3.99 e-book (522p) ISBN 978-0-9897577-2-0

In this Southern Gothic love letter to the spookier side of New Orleans's storied past, Arden spins out a moody tale of magic and mystery, set against the backdrop of a city recovering from disaster. Two months after a massive hurricane nearly destroys New Orleans, 16-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her artist father return to a half-underwater home, where rebuilding goes hand in hand with curfews and scavenging. As Adele tries to return to normal, she's swept up in inexplicable events, with strange people drifting in and out of her life and bodies turning up like clockwork. Adele finally discovers that the French Quarter is home to a clan of vampires and that only she, as a descendant of the coven that originally cursed them, can break the centuries-old spell that holds them there. The sense of place and weight of history are strong in this slow-burning dark fantasy, filled with colorful characters and growing tension. While the cast occasionally grows unwieldy and the story can get convoluted, it's still a thoroughly satisfying page-turner and a strong debut for Arden. Ages 12%E2%80%93up.