Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Hell or High Water

by: Joy Castro

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, finally catches a break: an assignment to write her first full-length feature. While investigating her story, she also becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in the French Quarter. As Nola’s work leads her into a violent criminal underworld, she’s forced to face disturbing truths from her own past and is confronted with the question: In the aftermath of devastation, who is responsible for rebuilding what's been broken?

Vividly rendered in razor-sharp prose, this haunting thriller is a riveting journey of trust betrayed—and the courageous struggle to rebuild. Fast-paced, atmospheric, and with a knockout twist, Hell or High Water features an unforgettable heroine as fascinating and multilayered as New Orleans itself.

Very well written and edited. I read this book without even one hiccup. Well except for the short people who had to smack my arm to get my attention. I stayed up so late last night because I wanted to finish it, not because I had to.

The main character, Nola felt like a soul sister. She had a few friends but everyone was kept at a distance. They did all appreciate that she could keep a secret. Considering she is a journalist, that's an amazing skill!

She loves the written word and doesn't like a lot of fluff language. That's the reason I suck at writing business correspondence. They LOVE fluff. I just want to get to the point and get out of there.

The story keeps you guessing all the way through. I wish I could tell you more but I can't. I can only say that it's a roller coaster ride. It's listed as a thriller, but I wasn't so much afraid for Nola as worried about her sanity. When the author described Nola's descent into depression, it felt familiar.

There is the thriller element, but it's also highly political. Highlighting not only the vast chasm that exists between whites and non-whites and the poor and wealthy. When speaking to the disparity between the races with regard to jail time, the old lady who used to watch Nola said,
"In this world, baby girl, there's no such thing as justice. You got to make your own."
When she starts interviewing people about the sex offender registry she finds a sickening disparity. Wealthy mothers are educated about the registry, and work like hawks to protect their children. The mothers from the 9th ward, have never heard of the registry and don't have computers anyway. Plus they treat sexual abuse as a reality, and while they won't tolerate it they also feel their daughters need to learn to protect themselves. (I don't think either is particularly healthy.)

I will give only one warning. If you've ever been sexually abused, this might be a difficult story. There's nothing too graphic, but the feelings and realities in this story are hauntingly familiar. It could easily pull some triggers.


  1. ✻´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´✻✻✻CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS ~ you're a winner of my 1000th Followers Giveaway over at¸.•´ (¸.•´✻
    I've sent you an email to follow up so just look for that and respond. Thanks so much for participating Angie!

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. Congrats on being a winner at Plumrose.

  3. Ooohhhh, I must get this one. It sounds like something right up my alley. You know, I have a very short attention span these days so a good roller coaster ride is always a plus.;-)

    Congrats on your win!!! Hugs, sweetie.


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