After losing her job and her lover, Tess Parnell hopes her luck has changed when she is contacted about a surprise Louisiana inheritance. Excitement turns to shock, however, when she realizes her family has hidden their New Orleans history, including her grandfather's murder and a possible link to her mother's suicide. Tess heads to New Orleans to cash in on her inheritance, explore her newfound roots and learn the reasons for her family's lies. Sifting through memories and legends, she begins to trace her Creole heritage from a haunted plantation to bayou tragedies and bitter vendettas. Tess is determined to uncover the family secrets that may have warped her mother's life and her own childhood. When Tess unwittingly rouses vengeful forces from a dark New Orleans past, her fight for the truth suddenly becomes a fight for her life. Sharma portrays New Orleans as beautiful, corrupt, complicated, secretive and tragic-far more than just an atmospheric backdrop for Tess' genealogical investigations. She skillfully shows how the family betrayals, murders, lies and vengeance Tess uncovers are inextricably linked with New Orleans' history, racial and sexual politics, and geography. The author handles dialogue (and dialect) well, which gives vitality to her large, varied cast, and she depicts Tess herself as likable, enterprising and sympathetic....Sharma paces the vel well, gradually unfolding layers of mystery until the final truth is revealed. An often engaging New Orleans mystery with romantic and humorous touches. -- Kirkus Reviews
Katherine Sharma's family roots are in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. But after her early childhood in Texas, she has moved around the country and resided in seven other states, from Virginia to Hawaii. She currently lives in California with her husband and three children. She has also traveled extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia, and makes regular visits to family in India. After receiving her bachelor's degree in economics and master's degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, Katherine worked as a newspaper and magazine writer and editor for more than 15 years. She then shifted into management and marketing roles for firms in industries ranging from outdoor recreation to insurance to direct marketing. Although Katherine still works as a marketing consultant, she is now focused on creative writing. For more information about this book and upcoming publications by the author, go to her website at www.authorkatherinesharma.com.