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City of Masks

(Cree Black #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,845 ratings  ·  229 reviews
In City of Masks, the first Cree Black novel, parapsychologist Cree and her partner take a case in New Orleans's Garden District that leaves them fearing for their own lives. The 150-year-old Beauforte House has long stood empty, until Lila Beauforte resumes residence and starts to see some of the house's secrets literally come to life. Tormented by an insidious and violen ...more
Paperback, 453 pages
Published January 17th 2004 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2003)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,845 ratings  ·  229 reviews

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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: Beaufort was frowning slightly, as if engaged in some internal calculus that gave him difficulty. But perhaps he wasn't really such a smug bastard. His scepticism was understandable. Likewise his unfamiliarity with Psy Research Ltd'smethods. He had every right to vet what he considered a wacky Seattle outfit before handing over money. There were plenty of idiots and con-artists in the field and, however dubious, he was going through with it, honouring the request of his sister Lila who ...more
Linda Lipko
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you are fascinated with New Orleans, the history, the culture, the things that go bump in the night and a story of old southern snobbery resulting from inherited wealth, then this is the book for you.

I liked it so much that I had a difficult time putting it down. Cree Black is a paranormal investigator hired by a wealthy client who, because of vile things happening in her garden district mansion, feels as though she is literally going crazy.

Moving out of the mansion, still she is haunted by t
Jul 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This was a story with a lot of unrealized potential. There was an interesting start with the promise of an intriguing case in New Orleans, but then the story lost momentum pretty quickly with way too much detail about the types of equipment Cree's partner used and a totally unnecessary story arch about an elderly lady and her recently departed dog. I almost quit reading after she left the office and started rattling off lists of things she need to pack and do before leaving town. One of the thin ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghosts, mystery
"I psychoanalyze dead people."

Sorry, couldn't resist. This was actually a fine book about a trained psychologist who specializes in analyzing ghosts, and those they are haunting, to figure out what issues must be resolved to let the spirits move on.
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, horror
I read this one overnight. It's a fun, disturbing not-badly-written book that balances mystery and horror fairly well.

The gist lays thusly: a multi-degreed doctor lady in her middle-ish 30's was a big wig in the field of psychology and very happily married when her husband was killed very suddenly in a car accident and she saw him manifest for a moment before she knew he was dead, making her question everything and swerve her career away from general psychology and to parapsychology.

Flash forwar
Jeanne Adamek
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first 2/3rds of the book. Daniel Hecht is a very accomplished writer. He really made New Orleans come alive. I could see his characters--actually felt like I was in the story.

It was the last third of the book that bothered me. Oh, I had to keep reading-- the story was that well written. The story just got too dark, too depressing. Too real. I didn't find this book scary like one would a good ghost story. But it was scary. A dark thriller that the ending just wasn't what I w
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
I really enjoyed this. Daniel Hecht wrote beautifully, and the narrator, Anna Fields, did a really great job. I got a real feel for New Orleans (one of my favorite settings) both physically and spiritually. I was engaged through the whole book and could barely stop myself from listening to take a break.

I'm not even sure how to classify this: mystery/thriller/suspense, or paranormal/urban fantasy? It was just this side of too normal to be full-blown urban fantasy, but it was definitely paranormal
I've been taking advantage of my library's digital collection of audio books and I find myself trying books on audio that wouldn't necessarily be books that would rise to the top of the pile otherwise. I’ve found some really enjoyable stories, some good mysteries and some wonderful readers. Anna Fields, who read this was terrific.

Cree Black works as a paranormal investigator living in Seattle. She travels to New Orleans to help a woman sort out what she's seen in the family home where she grew
Mary, Mary, Just a bit contrary
If you are looking for a scary ghost story this isn't for you. But I enjoyed the book and will definately read more of this series and author. I just hope it doesn't turn into 20 books of "will they or won't they" between Ed and Cree. Or 20 books of Cree being unable to move past the death of her husband 10yrs ago.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Audiobook narrated by Anna Fields.
Peter Kern
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow, this book was an unexpected treat. My wife and I chose this book basically by accident as our follow-up listen to The Hunger Games. Being so drastically different we had a hard time getting into this one. It took us more than five hours of listening before we really felt like we were on solid ground and into the story. For this reason I didn't give it a perfect score. But once the story started taking shape, we couldn't stop listening, it was amazing.

The story follows a parapsychologist, Cr
Apr 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-read
Having been sidelined by an injury I have gone on an escapist fiction binge. I picked up the book based on its availability and the publisher's jacket blurb.

Cree (Lucretia) Black, the heroine/protagonist of the novel and series was a serious academic psychologist whose life experience as a young widow pushed her into parapsychology as a consulting 'ghost hunter'. The story is character driven and set in New Orleans. When describing to my wife and a son I suggested thinking of some combination o
Gaby Szemes
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book had soooo much potential. It's set in my hometown and the main character is a psychologist! What more could I ask for? Oh, I know- less superfluous detail and less use of the the description of someone's face as "baleful" (try a different adjective, Mr. Hecht- ever heard of a thesaurus?). The story itself is good and that's why I kept reading- I was intrigued but I had a sense that the author has never actually been to NOLA- all of his characters were so stereotypical. It's like he rea ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creep-factor, mystery
I enjoyed this book. The story was original and pretty creepy but I thought the author could have drawn out the scary bits even more. It had the potential to be one of those novels that cause me to sleep with the tv on and jump at every noise in the house! I gave it a four because it did have some dull descriptive moments that I had to scan over to keep on with the story.

**********SPOILERS BELOW**********************

I didn't really like Cree's business partners. Ed is a total wuss and I don't k
Gina Rinaldi
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
City of Masks follows one member (mostly) from a team of ghost hunters on a trip to New Orleans. A family there has requested her help in ridding their historic home of ghosts that have been haunting one family member in particular.

I really enjoyed this book. There was a little mystery and a little history in a fantastic setting. To be fair, I have also been known to watch Ghost Adventures, so this sort of plot has general appeal to me. At times I found the descriptions to be a bit intense and o
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a quite well written whodunit cum ghost story with just enough scare in it to keep me on edge but not enough to truly terrify. Cree Black, the heroine, is engagingly unique and three-dimensional if a little frustrating. The empath thing somehow frustrates me. It's like, what? So you can feel things the rest of us can't? Like you're better than we are? This says more about me than it does about a character in a novel, though, doesn't it?

Anyway, pre-Katrina New Orleans is a nice back-drop
Vezlandia Day
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really cannot say enough about the writing skills of this once guitarist turned writer Daniel Hecht. I went into City of Masks looking for an easy read with no expectations for a solid plot. It seems like it is hard to find a book based on paranormal happenings that isn't just full of fluff. This book proved this theory of mine wrong.

Daniel Hecht obviously spends a lot of time researching everything he writes about. And I do mean thoroughly. From the setting to culture to the research involved
Richda Mcnutt
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a very satisfying story of the supernatural. The characters are quite well-drawn and the plotting is logical and quite seamless. There is the added plus of visions of New Orleans, one of our most intriguing cities with its rich history and present-day conflicts between modernity and superstition. The interweaving of "ghost-hunting" and applied psychology added more depth than is normally expected from this genre. All in all, a well-crafted novel by yet another Iowa Writers' Wo ...more
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked up this as an audio book from the library for a road trip. At the beginning I thought maybe I wouldn't like it, I'm not into paranormal stuff. But it got better as I went along and turned out to be a very good choice.

Lots of twists and turns in the plot and the actor reading was very good. Even at 13 CDs (big book) it was very good and I plan on reading the next in the series.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
With a solid mystery which knocks heavily on Gothic doors, this fascinating book explores both para-science and psychology from unique and thrilling angles. Hecht has created a strong cast of characters that ricochet beautifully amid family secrets, old houses, and ghosts of the past. The New Orleans setting puts the icing on the cake. I will be exploring book two.
Noah R
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Book. The author paid so much attention to detail.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Anna Fields does a terrific job as narrator. A ghost story with some interesting characters set in New Orleans. Unfortunately it rambles on and never really finds its way to a good story. Too bad no editors were available when this book was written.
Trina Talma
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody

I gave this book two stars instead of one only because I found the characters interesting. Too bad the author doesn't seem to agree with me. I felt rather bad for them as for the majority of the book, all they were given to do was wander around New Orleans, looking at the sights, eating good food, and having endless conversations and inner monologues. I nearly gave up on the book about a quarter of the way through but stuck it out because I was convinced that SOMETHING interes
May 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio-book
I **REALLY** wanted to like this book. I tried to like this book. I hate this book and the author. From the description, it's a great story, and as I experienced the audio book, the narrator had a pleasant voice (reminded me a lot of Judy Kaye, who read the Sue Grafton series). But this book apparently was not edited at all. If it were actually edited, we wouldn't hear every single minute detail of the main character's life. I swear, there are lines like "then I put my right foot to the ground, ...more
Bobby Bermea
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I should say that in my star system one is sucky, two is I made it through it(sometimes), three is GOOD (I enjoyed it), four is great, it became important to me and five is I think it's a masterpiece orrrr at least it achieves everything that it wants to achieve. I say all this because even though I'm only giving City of Masks three stars, I really enjoyed it. Some parts of it were really creepy which I was pleasantly surprised by. I liked Cree herself. I liked the story that Hecht crafted. I wa ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book could probably be best described as a quieter urban fantasy. Cree Black is not the usual flashy urban fantasy protagonist that combats evildoers with magic and martial arts, and she has not been called to save the world.

Cree has been called to investigate a haunted house that harbors a painful family secret. The family greets her, polite but not entirely forthcoming with the whole story. Cree perseveres with the case anyway. The family has been haunted by the specter of a man with a p
Sonya L Moore
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
From Amazon:
"Superb...A thoroughly satisfying, disturbing novel." -Cleveland Plain Dealer
In City of Masks, the first Cree Black novel, parapsychologist Cree and her partner take a case in New Orleans's Garden District that leaves them fearing for their own lives. The 150-year-old Beauforte House has long stood empty, until Lila Beauforte resumes residence and starts to see some of the house's secrets literally come to life. Tormented by an insidious and violent presence, Lila finds herself trap
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
This would have been a good mystery if the author hadn't been so determined to convince the reader of the scientific reasons ghosts could be real. The plot really got bogged down by all the editorializing. Also, the protagonist was one of the wimpiest detectives around - and not in a funny way like Monk, just in an "I like to do yoga and think about my feelings, talk about my feelings and feel my feelings" way. All in all, a little too new-age and not spooky enough for me. It did get three stars ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. It has all the potential for some excellent scares - a great setting in New Orleans with hints of voodoo/hoodoo ties, Mardi Gras debauchery and some truly terrifying ghosts that become violently interactive with the here and now. But then...the story just trails off into the beyond taking the ghosts with it. The main character has her own hang-ups that detract rather than add to the plot and by the end, I was just flipping through the pages.

The Kindle version a
Cheap and Lazy
More detailed (and a bit repetitive) than I normally care for, but it did immerse me in the story and add a feeling of authenticity. Imaginative, Powerful. Great mystery with loads of twists, excellent characterization and setting development—which accounts for the slower pace (can’t have it both ways). The narrator is phenomenal with voices and accents, but her narration took some getting used to (worth it); her voice is clear and easy to understand. Romantic element provided tension and plot, ...more
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I was born into an artist's community founded in 1946 by my parents and their friends in the wilds of Westchester County, N.Y. Surrounded by these individualistic yet communalistic bohemians, I saw artists in every discipline working their magic, and could not help but follow in their footsteps.

I've lived all over the U.S. and have worked at every kind of job to make ends meet, and I enjoy the lab

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Cree Black (3 books)
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