City of Masks

Date finished: 9-28-08
Author: Daniel Hecht
Category: Thriller
Published: 2003
Pages: 438
Rating: 4.5/5

Basic Plot:
There’s worse than creepy things going on down New Orleans way, causing a leading family to seek Cree Black’s help in freeing the spirits or at least humoring the sister they’re pretty sure has just gone plum crazy. Cree’s special empathic skills have proven useful in the past in dealing with the supernatural, although she’s mostly in it for the scientific research. What Cree discovers might set the house to rights, but put her in danger as the family secrets will be coming out from under the rug as a result.

My assessment:
I had decided it was time to take on an adult book again, so I roamed the stacks and picked this book up at semi-random. Glad I did! Now the family secret and ensuing crimes were probably a bit more intense than I tend to like. I mean, intense. This isn’t something for the highly sensitive.

I’m not sure I really knew what to expect when I picked this out. It was a mystery/thriller of sorts, but I somehow missed the supernatural researchers part of the puzzle. Made for an interesting angle and explanation for why Cree would be getting involved with a case like this. I’m not really a ghost story kind of person (although Peter Straub’s Ghost Story is pretty amazing) but there was so much to unravel about the living that I didn’t find it at all off-putting.

Cree herself I’m looking forward to reading more of. She’s a highly sympathetic character, a woman who has to be careful with her emotions because of her empathic abilities, dogged, determined and a heck of a spine. But still very vulnerable, a trait that becomes more evident as you move through the book and learn more about her. Outside of Cree’s team and the psychiatrist, the rest of the characters read like they came out of a “stock Southern characters” guidebook. Sigh.

Get City of Masks: A Cree Black Novel at

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