cover image Nearer Home

Nearer Home

Joy Castro. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-00458-1

Near the start of Castro’s solid second crime novel set in post-Katrina New Orleans (after 2012’s Hell or High Water), Nola Céspedes, a staff writer for the Times-Picayune, stumbles across the ritually posed corpse of a woman while jogging in Audubon Park. Céspedes recognizes the victim as Judith Taffner, her former—and despised—Tulane journalism professor, and while clues at the scene suggest the killing was the work of an obsessed psychopath, the reporter can’t help wondering if they were designed to conceal the murderer’s true motives. Compulsively curious, Céspedes begins to unravel Taffner’s secret lives, revealing her as a person by turns bright and self-deluding, a determined professor fatally entangled in the Big Easy culture of political and police corruption. Castro’s prose is clean and to the point, and she shows considerable affection for New Orleans. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown. (July)