Author: Rhodi Hawk
Series: Madeleine LeBlanc #1
Trade Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Forge Books
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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.
A Twisted Ladder starts out with the main character, Madeleine Leblanc’s brother Marc committing suicide. After Marc’s death, Madeleine discovers that her brother been going through a lot prior to his death, piecing together information about her family history, and the truth behind her father’s diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Madeleine begins to see that ‘personal’ demons are real, and the question is whether or not you can overcome it and beat it at its own game.
I didn’t really know what to expect when beginning A Twisted Ladder, I thought it was going to be a paranormal read but it’s more of a fiction thriller-mystery. A couple of the characters exhibit an ability to manipulate others’ mind by projecting their wills on unexpected individuals. The author takes a known mental disorder, Schizophrenia and warps it into an idea that is the main subject of the novel. I found the entire book fascinating, and was on the edge of my seat as I flip through the book. The chapters alternate between present day Louisiana and Louisiana in the 1900s (Madeleine’s great grandparents/family). The flashback scenes brought a little more back-story to Madeleine’s family, but I think it would have been fine without it. There were a couple of graphic scene in the book, but I didn’t think too much of it. It didn’t take anything away or give anything to the story.
Overall a good start to a new series, the beginning started out strong and continued that way till the very end. The book read like a mystery-thriller as readers follows Madeleine as she unearth secrets from the past and present; and as she help uncover a murder involving two women who has gone missing. In the last few chapters, the author throws a bunch of twist and turns that I didn’t see coming. I really loved the setting; the back drop of Southern Louisiana adds a beautiful-eeriness to the story. The ending was quite a shocker, and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2, A Tangled Bridge. I recommend this to anyone looking for a suspenseful mystery-thriller.
FTC disclaimer: Tor Books provided me with a copy of A Twisted Ladder, and in return I provide an honest review.