By Nevada Barr
Vanguard Press, Mass Market Paperbound, 9781593155919, 311pp.
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
With "13 1/2," Nevada Barr, "New York Times" bestselling author of the award-winning Anna Pigeon novels, has written a taut and terrifying psychological thriller. It carries the reader from horrifying 1970's murder spree of a child-dubbed "Butcher Boy" by a shocked public- in Rochester, Minnesota, to Polly, the abused daughter of Mississippi "trailer trash," to post-Katrina New Orleans. In Jackson Square in the French Quarter, a tarot card reader told Polly Deschamps she would be a success. Thirty years later, Polly is a respected professor of literature with good friends and her own home- a safe life for her and her two daughters. "Butcher Boy, released on his seventeenth birthday, shook the snow from his boots and headed south." "New Orleans, a Mecca for runaways then and now, offers sanctuary but never forgiveness." When Polly falls in love with Marshall Marchland, a restoration architect who is helping to rebuild her adopted city, shadows of the past rise out of the poisoned ground of New Orleans as thick and deadly as the toxic waters of the flood. Like history, some crimes are doomed to repeat themselves. Evil stays the same; only the victims' names change. As two broken pasts collide in an uncertain present, Polly is determined that her children's names will never be on that list.