For a piece of fiction to actually change your thinking and understanding about an event is proof of exceptional writing. Floodgates does just that, intermingling an actual event - Hurricane Katrina - with a murder and historical information about controlling the flood waters around New Orleans.
Faye Longchamp is an archaeologist who is currently in a race with the reconstruction crews in New Orleans. While her crew attempts to document and learn the real history, they discover a body that has been weighed down in the flood waters from Hurricane Katrina. There seems to be no logical reason for an old sewing machine on a body since, obviously, the machine would sink if placed in the water. It is then obvious that someone was killed and the heavy objects were placed on top of the body to keep it from being easily discovered.
The police identify the body as that of Shelly Broussard who was alive during the disaster and seen a few days afterwards. Shelly was concerned about her parents, who she believed were in their house when the hurricane waters flooded the area and drowned in their attic. Who and what was Shelly questioning and investigating at the time of her death? Who felt threatened by the two lists discovered in Shelly’s pants wrapped in a waterproof protection?
The characters and the backstory including the history of the flood control systems in New Orleans leads readers to a better understanding of the city and the Katrina disaster. The characters’ relationships and internal motivations help make it possible to truly understand the culture and the social issues confronting this city. Although many things have changed in time since, many people have not. The characters feel real, which makes the story feel real.
Author Mary Anna Evans studied physics and engineering in college. Her knowledge and understanding are perfect for this well-written mystery combining the past and present. Combining the engineering feats of engineering necessary to prevent New Orleans from flooding for the past three hundred years with a fictional archeological mystery proves the brilliance of Floodgates.Her previous novels are Artifacts, Relics, Effegies and Findings, all available from Poisoned Pen Press. Floodgates is the fifth in the series of books with Faye Longchamp.