First in the Hoodoo urban fantasy series revolving around Kallie Rivière.
Oh, wow! This was good!! I started reading and hated having to put it down. Within 20 pages, there’s more action than most novels achieve in 100. It uses the background of the nomads which Phoenix created in her The Maker’s Song series (starts with A Rush of Wings) with an emphasis here on voodoo. Phoenix also has a nice touch with the dialog and dialect in this story.
The basic premise is revenge. The bad guy wants to punish the woman he believes is responsible for his wife’s death and his imprisonment for all those years. And he has no compunctions over who he uses or hurts to achieve his ends. In fact, the more hurtin’, the better…
Phoenix sets us up early for [our] dying to read this book and the next, Black Heart Loa, with the mystery as to why Kallie’s mama would want to kill her own daughter. Gabi just needs to keep evil from coursing through Kallie, sparking whatever is inside her…
Ooh-la-la…that Augustine has a bit of a kink… And we get a wet boxers contest…set ’em up, ladies!
Gage was a nomad, a half-gypsy-style outlaw biker and pagan conjurer, whose lovemaking Kallie reveled in until she found him in her bed. And it doesn’t stop with him for Layne is attacked when he touches his old friend and Dallas is also the victim of an attack.
Obviously, the regular police cannot be involved and Lord Augustine takes over, conducting a standard police investigation with the hot seat and questioning all of Kallie’s possible motives. Although she does manage a most unexpected way to prove her innocence…to Augustine’s regret.
Then there’s this new trick in which Layne learns a new way to deal with his life as a Vessel, and he’s not against trying something that may help him live longer. But worse is yet to come for Jacks is missing.
Kallie Rivière is a Cajun hoodoo apprentice from Bayou Cyprès Noir, raised by her Ti-tante Gabrielle LaRue. Her cousin Jackson Bonaparte also lost his parents and is being raised by Gabrielle. Belladonna Brown is a mambo and Kallie’s best friend. Dallas Brûler, a.k.a., Doctor Snake, is a former student of Gabrielle’s, a root doctor, and friends with Kallie and Bella. Well, actually, his dreams indicate that he wants to take Bella to bed. Turns out he’s doing Gabrielle a favor and watching over Kallie at this Carnival of Fools as she calls it.
Layne Valin is also a nomad and Gage Buckland‘s brother-in-magic, his best friend and it’s only by the grace of le bon Dieu that he doesn’t kill Kallie for his death. He’s also a Vessel, a human capable of holding the spirit of the dead. McKenna Blue is a leprechaun and Layne’s extremely feisty ex-wife. Valin divorced McKenna because he kept coming back from being possessed and not knowing who she was. He didn’t think it was fair to her.
Lord Basil Augustine, Master of the Hecatean Alliance is present for the May Madness Carnival and he takes over the investigation. Felicity Fields, the Bond-babe Brit, is Augustine’s very chirpy assistant.
Jean-Julien “Doctor Heron” St. Cyr was not what he seemed. Babette is the wife who died of cancer. Rosette St. Cyr is the deluded daughter working undercover as a maid.
André and Bethany née Hawkins Santiago had three daughters: Sophie, Divinity, and Lucia. Sophie Rivière is Kallie’s murdering mother who is currently a resident at Saint Dymphna’s Institution for the Criminally Insane. Turns out mama was just tryin’ to awaken the loa inside her girl. Uh-huh…
The cover is black and blues. A collage of Gabrielle’s cabin in the bayou with her bottle tree and Kallie wearing short denim shorts and a cropped tank top holding a fat candle.
The title is the kicker, for Doctor Heron is using a Black Dust Mambo to fuel his vengeance.