Thursday, September 18, 2014
Black Magic Woman by Eric Wilder
Burdened by spring floods, malaria and yellow fever, citizens of old New Orleans often turned to voodoo practitioners-African Rosalie, Sanite Dede, Bras Coupe-for protection. None were more powerful, or feared, than Doctor John and Marie Laveau. After P.I. Wyatt Thomas encounters a ghost during a hospital visit, he tells his sometimes business partner voodoo mambo Mama Mulate. She places him in a trance and channels the ghost, soon learning a curse connects him and a long-dead French aristocrat. They are doomed to remain connected forever unless Wyatt can return to old New Orleans and lift the curse before midnight on New Year's Eve.
Though this is Wilder's eighth book, and the fourth in the French Quarter Mystery series, I'd never heard of him before this. I took a few minutes to judge this book by its cover before delving in. The colors and font alone make you think there's going to be something dark and mysterious about this book. Then, we have a very serious looking voodoo woman with a snake coiled around her neck, holding a gris gris bag. Now, I know there's some serious trouble in this book! I eagerly jumped in head first.
The characters are colorful and it was plain to see that Wilder has done his research. Of course, growing up in Louisiana around such tales, I'm sure there wasn't a lot that he didn't already know! It's a lot of fun though, these characters. We have good guys and bad guys and in between guys and they all swap around! The people we're supposed to be most afraid of have these wonderful soft centers and those that we begin feeling all sentimental towards end up to be the ones that frighten the bejeepers out of us!
Next we throw in some serious voodoo and hoodoo and magic and a little time travel. Not to mention an intriguing side mystery!
My only issue with this story is that it wrapped up a little too neatly at the end. It's kind of like when your favorite team is down by 30 points with only seconds on the clock, and all of a sudden they magically score 31 points to win. The odds of that are astronomical. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but the unrealistic nature of it was a bit of a turn off for me.
This is a great serious, however, and I strongly suggest it to anyone who enjoys mysteries and knows anything at all about Louisiana lore.
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