“Hell or High Water” (Thomas Dunn Books, $25.99) by Joy Castro is a psychological suspense thriller set in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Nola Cespedes is a young reporter at the Times-Picayune. Born and raised in the Upper Ninth Ward in New Orleans, she has managed to get an education and move to a better part of town.
Her friends are successful girls of color, like herself. They all come from good backgrounds, and Nola is ashamed to tell them about her past. Her relationships with men are one-night stands, which is what she prefers.
Bored with covering the Jazz Fest, plantations and other local color, she finally is assigned to write her first full-length feature.
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina downed power systems and Mayor Ray Nagin ordered evacuation, 1,300 sex offenders went off the grid. Now, three years later, 800 of them are still unaccounted for. Nola's assignment is to talk to sex offenders (some still on the registry, some not), counselors and victims. She is to look at the problem from all sides to see how well the system is working.