Jumping back and forth between late 1800s Louisiana bayou/New Orleans and present-day New Orleans, this book certainly give the reader a lot to think about. As a matter of fact, probably too much to think about. We learn of a family's struggles with mental illness and its effects on different generations. And later we find out that it maybe more supernatural ability rather than mental disability. Sticking with that theme from one time period to another would have been enough to fill this book, but there's much more to consider. There's an illegitimate baby far away from home, a villain who turns out to be a half-brother (with not-so-brotherly intentions - Oedipus poke your eyes out), something called "brambles", and invisible guides for these brambles, a boyfriend for the heroine (female hero, not the drug though the drug does show up cause there clearly wasn't already enough going on) who has academic interest and training of the ESP variety, and political scandals! And bears! Oh my! Ok, not so much with the bears but this book could have used a judicious editor and the author could have used a contract for a series rather than cramming all The Days of Our Lives into one episode so to speak.
As you can tell, I think the original story line didn't need that much embellishment. The author left the ending open enough for more novels and adventures with these characters. And that would be just fine if she keeps it simple, or finds a different editor. I'd give another one of her books a chance if I ever take another road trip and don't have something to read.
From Publishers Weekly
Hawk's promising debut, a Southern gothic thriller, introduces Dr. Madeleine LeBlanc, a staff psychologist at New Orleans's Tulane University with a special interest in cognitive schizophrenia. Maddy's father, Daddy Blank, suffers from the disease, as does her brother, Marc, whose suicide leads Maddy, who fears she may also be schizophrenic after psychic visits from a devil-child, to probe her family's past. Tulane neurologist Ethan Manderleigh provides support as terrible secrets surface about the family sugarcane plantation. Maddy's discovery that a creepy childhood friend is a murderer complicates her quest. Flashbacks to Prohibition-era New Orleans chart the early life of Maddy's clairvoyant, mean-spirited 114-year-old great-grandmother, Chloe, who's rather too spry for her age, despite her magical gifts. Voodoo and scientific research into neuroplasticity make an intriguing, if not always easy, mix. (Sept.)