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Street-tough Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, gets assigned to a story about the hundreds of sex offenders who went off the grid during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation. At the same time, a tourist who looks eerily like Nola is abducted from the French Quarter. As Nola’s work leads her into a violent criminal underworld, she’s forced to face disturbing truths from her own past and is confronted with the question: In the aftermath of devastation, who is responsible for rebuilding what’s been broken?


“Exquisite New Orleans background, intriguing newsroom politics and atmosphere, a flawed but plucky heroine, and skillfully paced suspense make this a stay-up-way-past-your-bedtime read.” -Booklist (starred review)

“A terrific thriller set in post-Katrina New Orleans, Hell or High Water is more than just a mystery; it’s a heartfelt examination of a second America–poor but undaunted–that was swept under the rug but refuses to stay there.” -Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author of MYSTIC RIVER and THE GIVEN DAY

“Hell or High Water is so thick and rich with authentic New Orleans details that you’ll be wiping sweat off your brow and smelling the crawfish étouffee. Joy Castro has crafted a complex, conflicted, and hauntingly real heroine with Nola Céspedes. Shackled to her past and to New Orleans, Castro’s Nola reminded me of Pat Conroy’s Tom Wingo and the Outer Banks in The Prince of Tides.” -Alex Kava, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie O’Dell Series, WHITEWASH, and ONE FALSE MOVE


Joy Castro teaches literature, creative writing, and Latino studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her 2005 memoir, THE TRUTH BOOK, was selected as an ABA Book Sense Notable Book.

To learn more about Joy, please visit her website.