Select one of the keywords
City of the Dead    by Daniel Blake order for
City of the Dead
by Daniel Blake
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

New Orleans is the setting for this multi-faceted thriller which features former Pittsburg cop Franco Patrese taking a new position with the F.B.I. Office in the Crescent City.

His first assignment involves the ritualistic murder of a well-connected young woman whose father is a Congressman and her boss one of the city's most influential businessmen. Other dismembered corpses follow. Each is covered in a whole lot of blood, with a dead rattlesnake nearby, and a mirror smashed into the victim's forehead with an ax head.

Teamed up with New Orleans Police Department Detective Selma Fawcett, Patrese's introduction to the city involves a serial killer who appears well schooled in hoodoo, a street savvy woman who controls part of the city's drug traffic and dabbles in voodoo on the side, some folks suffering from amputation disorder (I'll let the author explain!) and a fascinating conspiracy that plays out as Hurricane Katrina descends upon the city.

There's a lot going on in this novel and, in some respects, it's really two stories. The first part of the story that focuses on the serial murderers is good, but I found the last third of the story that was set against the backdrop of the hurricane exceptional. Without giving the plot away, I have to say I have often wondered myself if something somewhat akin to what the author concocts here wasn't actually in play when the city had to deal with the catastrophic storm and its aftermath.

A very atmospheric thriller with plenty of surprises, City of the Dead is not only a very good read but it also raises some provocative questions as well.

'Some of the worst schools in the nation, highest murder rate around, a police department that could be scarier than the criminals, corruption so advanced it was practically an art form, weather like wearing a steam towel around your head, and everywhere you looked not just all seven deadly sins but some that hadn't even been named yet ...' is how Blake describes New Orleans, but try as you might to dislike this city, you can't. There's a vibrancy, a decadence and a uniqueness that makes New Orleans a place you might not care to live in but you certainly want to revisit over and over again! Blake has captured this in his novel.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews