Black Dust Mambo
by Adrian Phoenix
Pocket Books, July 2010
It begins with an especially vicious hoodoo murder. Not only did the victim suffer terrible anguish during his death throws, but when his body died so did his soul. Such hoodoo soul eating magic has come from a strong practitioner. Who could it be and more importantly why was it done? The man who died was Kallie Riviere's lover. Fairly soon it becomes clear that she was the intended target. Could it have something to do with her hoodoo family connections and her dark, tragic past?
When nomad Layne Valin discovers his comrade's body he vows to find the culprit. To do so he harnesses his gift as a vessel which allows him to commune with the dead. He touches his friend Gage's body hoping to discover the man's last moments. Instead the hex poison left behind transfers to Layne who starts to bleed profusely just as Gage did. Kallie knocks Layne away, but already he has stopped breathing. Using the little magic she knows Kallie begins to chant while picturing white light sucking the poison from his body. To her own relief and surprise Layne recovers, but with his recovery comes the anguished understanding of Gage's complete demise.
This is quite a powerful start to a novel populated with offbeat individuals from within the Cajun community of New Orleans. Kallie and others have come to the Big Easy for the Hecatean Alliance's annual carnival where humans show off there abilities to manipulate magic. One of the many fascinating characters is Lord Augustine, a rather pompous individual, with a "veddy" British accent who heads the Alliance. It is his group, he insists, that will track down the perpetrator of Gage's gruesome murder.
As the story continues the characters find themselves engaged in engrossing, complex twists and turns of plot. For readers there is something for everyone - magic, hexes, murderous hoodoo poppets, ghosts, possession, at least one bondage fantasy, and a wet boxer shorts contest. Throughout, the author immerses us in the sights, sounds, smells, and total atmosphere of New Orleans. An excellent start to a new series
Adrian Phoenix is the author of the vampire series The Maker's Song.
Factoid: Hoodoo is a form of predominantly African-American traditional folk magic. Also known as conjure, it is a tradition of magical practice that developed from the syncretism of a number of separate cultures and magical traditions.
Hoodoo incorporates practices from African and Native American traditions, as well as some European magical practices and grimoires. While folk practices like hoodoo are trans-cultural phenomena, what is particularly innovative in this tradition is the "remarkably efficacious use of biblical figures" in its practices and in the lives of its practitioners. Moreover, a hoodoo practitioner is not to be understood as a rootworker if he or she does not use roots and herbs in their magical practices. Thus, rootwork can be understood as a subcategory or a "type" of hoodoo practice.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[Dear FTC, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this excellent book from the publisher.]