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A Twisted Ladder

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  547 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Psychologist Madeleine LeBlanc has spent her whole career trying to determine the cause of her father's schizophrenia. She always felt that she could unravel its origins and cure the man who left her and her brother, Marc, to practically raise themselves on the Louisiana Bayou. But when Marc takes his own life on a fishing boat in the middle of Bayou Black, Madeleine embar ...more
ebook, 544 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Forge Books
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What a disappointment. How this first-time author conned her publisher into a trade paper, I'll never understand. This was a mass market thriller wrapped up in pretty packaging. Hawk attends the Dan Brown School of Dramatic Arc Chapter Construction, flip-flopping two concurrent stories from the 20's and present-day, not according to any parallel narrative, but apparently according to the author's whim. The basic premise showed promise, but when I reached the ridiculous sex scenes, I couldn't giv ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely horrible. I'm not sure what the worst part was; the terrible character development, the sloppy flip-flopping between the 1920's and the current time, or the absolutely ridiculous plotline.

The sex scenes in this book were just down-right gross. They added absolutely nothing to the plot, and went on far longer than was necessary.

The fact that Madeline's friends accepted so easily that she was being "mind-controlled" and had the ability to do the same was beyond stupid. The
Joy (joyous reads)
What would you do if you have the power of persuasion? No - I'm not talking about using your feminine wiles to get what you want from your man. I'm talking about power of suggestion. Literally, telling someone to do your will. Imagine the possibilities. Or in this book's case, imagine how many people you could kill.

Set in Louisiana, A Twisted Ladder tells a story of generations of voodoo and madness. LeBlanc's family has a history spanning decades of manipulation, murder and mysticism. It will p
C. Lorion
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. A Twisted Ladderhas been called a southern Gothic tale, and although I must admit to not knowing exactly what a southern Gothic tale is, this story had just about everything I like in a story--characters I cared about, a plot that kept me guessing, and a sense of underlying evil poking its head into ordinary people's lives. I won't go into the plot or storyline as you can get that from the Goodreads of Amazon page, but I will say that if you don't mind spending some with an author who ...more
Nicole Tahsildar
I enjoyed reading this book.
Rhonda Rae Baker
Oct 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great psychological read! I was drawn to this novel because of the short introduction on the back cover and I’m very happy that I picked it up.

I loved the back-story of family history running parallel with the narrative of current events. There were mysteries within the protagonist’s relatives lives that made this a very interesting story. I was held at attention from the beginning as events unfolded.

The realities of character development in each of us that is affected by genes was total
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ethan Nahté
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is easy to see why Hawk's debut novel won the International Thriller Writer's Scholarship (2007) for A Twisted Ladder. The story follows two timelines, linked by one of the central characters, a Creole named Chloe who knows a bit of River magic/VooDoo, but never really claims to be a witch or priestess. In the early portion of the 20th century, Chloe begins as a servant in the house of Rémi and his wife, but she soon gains power, removing the obstacles in Rémi's life and making use of the sug ...more
F. Paul
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If James Lee Burke, John Farris, and Flannery O’Connor could somehow collaborate on a novel, they might come up with A Twisted Ladder. Yes, it’s that good. Rhodi Hawk, aware of her roots but stretching the envelope to the limit, has reshaped Southern Gothic and made it her own. Alternately lyrical and disturbing, majestic and profoundly creepy, A Twisted Ladder sings with an unabashed love of the South even while lifting its rocks to reveal the rot and darkness lurking beneath. Murder, rape, inc ...more
Michelle Delgado
This started out so promising. However, halfway through (and that's a long way in a 500+ page book) it just went down hill for me. My first glimpse of weak writing was the dialoque between MAdeline and Ethan.Cheesy! Also Ethan was a neurologist who frequently used poor grammar. I guess it was supposed to be cute but I hated it. Also, I got sick if Maddies "friend" Severin. I did like the setting and Remy's story. He was my favorite character. I could have taken all the creepiness and weirdness i ...more
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very slow read. I find it hard to keep interested. Good story line. Bounces back and forth in time from early 1900s Creole/post-slavery to present time. 2/3 through the book and i'm still waiting for something to happen.

thank god! it's finally over. had a hard time trudging through this one. nothing like i was expecting based on the back cover description. the story line bounced all over and never really congealed. save your time on this one.
Lisa Lepage
Dec 20, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Started out slow, then got interesting, then totally nose dived. Cannot believe I finished it. Voodoo, river devils, gris-gris. Horrible.
Threasa Jenkins
This book is about whether the people are schizophrenic or are they psychics of some type. It was really fun to get to know Madeleine and her family. The book time travels between 2009-2010 back to 1922-1927. There were some more things I would have liked to have known about Chloe. What happened to her children as they grew up? But, the book was fun to read, and it does make you think.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly good either. It's rare I start a series and don't want to read the next book right away, but I doubt I'll read the next one.
My Thoughts on this book are good and bad so this will not be a typical review because I really had a hard time coming to a decision about this book. Let me start with telling you all the good points. Rhodi Hawk pulled me into the book right away I was taken over by suspense, drama with a want for more chapters. A Twisted Ladder has a very dark way about it. I could not figure out whether that was good or bad. Being a lover of dark fiction I read on, however the dark is this novel was a little s ...more
Annette M Guerriero Nishimoto
Today's review is on A Twisted Ladder by Rhodi Hawk

Ah, New Orleans. The food, the music, and the beautiful plantations. The ghosts, the demons, and of course, the voodoo. It's all there, and it's all here in A Twisted Ladder, along with love, murder, and adultery. Captivating from the first chapter, I stayed up until 3am reading!

What better way to start this fantastic debut than with a brother plotting the murder of his very own sister? That's exactly what Marc has in mind when he calls Madelein
Eileen Patterson
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It has a sense of menace right from the very beginning, and it's dark and heavy, which reminded me a lot of Anne Rice's books. So many twisting plot elements that I'd feel exhausted after one chapter and want to take a nap - which is why it took me so long to finish this book. I also agree that it takes awhile to get into this book, so if you give up after 50 pages, it's not going to make much sense, because it has a slow build and the author takes her sweet time tying ...more
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
3 1/2 Stars.

A Twisted Ladder starts out with the main character, Madeleine Leblanc’s brother Marc committing suicide. After Marc’s death, Madeleine discovers that her brother been going through a lot prior to his death, piecing together information about her family history, and the truth behind her father’s diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Madeleine begins to see that ‘personal’ demons are real, and the question is whether or not you can overcome it and beat it at its own game.

I didn’t really know w
World Building: Fabulously dark and luscious Louisiana Bayous setting with a world of river magic and twisted minds who can do some really cool tricks, I loved this world with a passion and it spoke to my love of dark, creepy-like beauty.
Characters: Well built, strong and charismatic, the bad guys included. I loved Daddy Blank, Madeleine was really cool, and others were very intriguing - Chloe, Zenon. Can't say I was a fan of Ethan, but that's a matter of personal taste. With such tough competit
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was billed as terrifying, suspenseful, and scary. Unfortunately, I was able to finish the whole thing with nary one goosebump, nor one sleepless night, no devils lurking under my bed nor peering out from my closet door ajar in the night. How disappointing! I am not sure if that's the book's fault or the fact that I have a high threshold for terror in my reading material, being born and raised in New Orleans--a haunted place where we cut our teeth on ghost stories.

What I liked about th
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Madeleine LeBlanc had become a psychologist to understand and treat her father and brother’s special kind of schizophrenia. Of course she’s worried it’s genetic and she may suffer from it one day, too. What she doesn’t realize is their illness is no such thing and the truth has its roots back in the early 1900’s and deep in Madeleine’s family tree. When Madeleine finds she has more family around than she knew and learns of her deadly legacy, she’s afraid she has gone off the deep end herself. Ye ...more
Hawk’s debut novel makes a strong entrance into a sort of cross-genre market. She blends - and without making it remotely choppy, or discombobulated - historical fiction with contemporary, a murderous serial killer with a hint of the fantastical in the mind-controlling, personal hauntings and Southern-style magic. There’s a hint of the horror genre here as well with some genuinely frightening imagery and some moments of extreme suspense. But it’s nothing that will induce nightmares. There are al ...more
Susie James
Rhodi Hawk's "A Twisted Ladder" came off the swap paperback rack last week at our library. Southern Gothic was a description blazed across the bottom of the atmospheric cover, so I said, let's see about this one (surely the twisted ladder appellation refers to DNA?). Definitely a creepy, unusually conceived and executed story about the LeBlancs of the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Hahnville, La., areas. Mingling mental illness with demonic possession and so on ... the enduring, mysterious practition ...more
Jodie Brown
Sep 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
This is an interesting look into Louisiana cajun culture in some respects and into mental health issues in other respects. Although schizophrenia is mentioned often, really this book serves as a reminder that we don't really know a whole lot about mental health or the disease of schizophrenia.

Hawk's description of the bramble and thorns that comprise the consciousness is artful and intriguing. These excursions into the depths of consciousness also provided some interesting and unexpected twists
Robin DeJarnett
Creepy. Not quite horror, more like the Sixth Sense creepy. Madeleine, a psychologist, has been studying schizophrenia in her own family, and then seems to contract the same condition. But psychology isn't the core of the story, it's more of a voodoo-feeling type of psychic thriller.

Set in Louisiana, the story takes two paths: one through present-day with Madeleine, and one through the 1920's with her great-grandparents. While both are interesting, they don't really tie together very tightly. In
Shay Caroline
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
T.L. Gray
It took me a while to get into this story, but when the point of view shifted to the past and focused on Remi, that's when it took off for me. It's the backstory that really gives strength to the mondern day story of Madeline. Once the story started moving, it moved at a really good pace. I liked it. I liked all the science behind the river demons and schizophrenia. I love the whole Lousianna Plantation, Mississippi River demons and Bayou voodoo.

Wasn't surprised by the storyine, but the executi
Alan Marchant
A schizophrenic book by a writer who can't hear voices.

A Twisted Ladder is pitched as a horror novel with interwoven story lines from the early 20th and 21st centuries. Both stories are supposed to be gothic, but the modern story is essentially a romance (with all the negative elements that implies) while the period piece is closer to fantasy. Neither story is scary.

Rhodi Hawk unfortunately has no ear for dialog - all of the characters sound the same and none of them seem native to the cajun cul
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those stories that leave me wondering whether I enjoyed it or not. Some parts of the story weren't clear for most of the book, Chloe's age for one, some parts didn't make any sense even after realizing that the story consisted of "mental" illnesses that were not really illnesses.

A lot of almost history starting from the Civil War to modern times mixed with the paranormal in an icky way.

It would have been a better put-together story if some things had been further explained and others jus
Lee Koopman
The rot in New Orleans does not come only from the damp. This book kept me turning the pages and turning some more. It was creepy. It did switch back and forth from past to present and I have to admit I liked the story from the past and the characters more than the ones in the presen............a little too much unbelieveable action going on in the present.....BUT, it was a good read. Totally though provoking, combining scientific facts about schizophrenia and taboos and fears about mental illne ...more
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Rhodi Hawk has been fascinated by storytelling since her earliest memory, when her grandmother read to her from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Rhodi has been reading or writing ever since, and began her career as a transcription linguist in US Army intelligence. She later made a living as a technical writer during the Internet boom, working on her first novel in the early mornings and at night.

More about Rhodi Hawk...