Hell or High Water

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Jul. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9781250004574. $25.99. M
In Castro's first novel, the city of New Orleans plays a leading role along with the human characters. Set post-Katrina, the story recounts the devastation that still reigns as Nola Cespedes, a rookie reporter at the Times-Picayune, drives around pursuing her first big story. She is interviewing sex offenders who have served their time to see if they are "cured"—not the easiest topic for Nola to cut her teeth on. The search for a missing tourist catches her attention and causes Nola to pursue the truth as she meets some truly depraved men.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers will find this a fascinating look into an intriguing city. Nola is a feisty character chasing her own demons while ferreting out facts about child abuse, recidivism, and the mystery surrounding an innocent girl who goes missing while visiting the Big Easy.
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