March 25, 2012

Review: Hell or High Water by Joy Castro

Hell or High Water
Author: Joy Castro
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Review Source: Sparks PR Agency
Format: ARC paperback

Summary: A psychological thriller in the vein of Kate Atkinson and Tana French that introduces Nola Céspedes, an intense and spellbinding protagonist.
Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, catches a break: An assignment to write her first full-length feature. While researching her story, she also becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in New Orleans. As Nola’s work leads her into darker corners of the city, a singular narrative voice emerges, and an even more compelling question surfaces: Who is Nola Céspedes? Vividly rendered in razor sharp prose, this novel is a riveting journey of trust betrayed—and the courageous struggle toward recovery.

Review: Joy Castro’s novel, Hell or High Water, holds loads of potential. The plot is thrilling and the twists unexpected. The descriptions are very vivid and remarkable. Castro easily paints a crystal clear picture of post-Katrina New Orleans. The narrative is very well written with deep characters and a rich setting. Although I normally love thrillers, Castro’s novel seemed to be overwhelmed by statistics that were only tangent to the story and that lose the reader’s attention and focus. Also, although her imagery is exceptional, the novel gets bogged down in details of the surroundings and the aftermath of Katrina. These are wonderful insights into the character and the background setting of New Orleans, but the reader’s mind wanders away from the story and the plot immensely because of these detailed mini-stories. Instead of focusing on the great thriller of the plot and the rich characters, Castro seemed to be writing a different story inside this one – a story that was centered on a Latina woman and her life in post-Katrina New Orleans. Overall, the story was written wonderfully and the plot was exciting, but I feel that it would have been even better if some of the ‘extras’ were left out. I will definitely read other books by this author and I anticipate her next novel.

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