Book Review: A Twisted Ladder by: Rhodi Hawk

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Forge Books

Publish Date: September 1, 2009

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Psychologist Madeleine LeBlanc has spent her whole career trying to determine the cause of her father's schizophrenia. She always felt that she could unravel its origins and cure the man who left her and her brother, Marc, to practically raise themselves on the Louisiana Bayou. But when Marc takes his own life on a fishing boat in the middle of Bayou Black, Madeleine embarks on a journey into her family history---to a time when the antebellum era was crumbling, and the line between servant and master was starting to fade. And the more she pries the more she reveals her family’s dark past, rife with conjured demons and river magic gone awry. Madeleine’s only hope to save herself is to face the ghosts of the past, the dangers of the present, and the twisted ladder that links them all together.

Review: Madeleine LeBlanc had become a psychologist to understand and treat her father and brother’s special kind of schizophrenia. Of course she’s worried it’s genetic and she may suffer from it one day, too. What she doesn’t realize is their illness is no such thing and the truth has its roots back in the early 1900’s and deep in Madeleine’s family tree. When Madeleine finds she has more family around than she knew and learns of her deadly legacy, she’s afraid she has gone off the deep end herself. Yet the river magic and the river devils are all too real and don’t like when you ignore their call. Can Madeleine figure out the truth and a way to control the river devil which has entwined itself in her life?

Set in the early 1900s and late 2000s, ‘A Twisted Ladder’ is filled with New Orleans and Creole culture, river magic, and those special beings known as river devils. Murder, suicide, magic, and mental illness all converge into a psychologically spooky tale of what is hidden in the blood. As the story unfolds, the chapters are split between Madeleine’s ancestors in the early 1900s and her life today. The terror runs deep through the brambles as a serial killer emerges from Madeleine’s own childhood. The characters are all very well developed and the author has shown tremendous depth of research into the setting, culture, and magic of New Orleans. The science of mental illness and psychology is also very well described. Truly terrifying and suspenseful, ‘A Twisted Ladder’ is definitely a nail-biter!

Series: A Twisted Ladder (1), The Tangled Bridge (2)


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