In a world of quick fixes, instant gratification, atrocious writers, bestseller’s based on name, celebrity status and/or fan base, one becomes a bit jaded. In my case, it isn’t “a bit.” Now don’t misunderstand me, I simply love discovering new writers, whether new to the shelves or new to me. However, when it is another laborious entry in the already overly saturated paranormal genre, I tend not to be quick on the draw and rush to it. After all, when debut authors enter the playing field, they better hook me. And keep me hooked. It has to be a book that is going to woo me to a sultry swoon – a’la chicks at a Bon Jovi concert or chicks-in-training at a Bieber appearance.
So forgive me if the sparklers fizzle or my eyes glaze when I hear of “yet another paranormal” being released (gag). We have enough supernatural books on the shelves — not to mention gearing up to join the ranks of the other murdered trees (thank goodness for eReaders) — to make the census bureau start counting the spirits roaming the earth because so many writers are floating to this genre.
Yet there are always exceptions and I adore them. Especially superior exceptions. When a copy of Rochelle Staab’s Who Do, Voodoo? landed on my doorstep, I wanted to devour it on the spot because Blake Morrow’s cover illustration was simply scrumptious and had cast an enchanting spell. The cover still captivates (yes, I tend to judge a book by its cover – my eyes hone in on good looking things like a hawk to its prey… just sayin’ like it is).
Ever since I was a wee little bratty diva in the Bronx, the word “occult” made me very uncomfortable and images of the unsettling (to me) Ouija board popped into my little noggin. And to be honest, the subject matter hit a bit too close to home, so I was rather hesitant, a bit skeptical, with a twist of let’s-not-go-there. Still I scooped up Who Do, Voodoo? and inhaled it. Staab is an exceptional storyteller in a land of unskilled folks who believe they are writers: Authors perhaps. Writers nope. Storytellers absolutely not! Who Do, Voodoo? is a stellar first installment in Staab’s A Mind for Murder Mystery series.
When psychologist Liz Cooper’s childhood friend Robin Bloom discovers a tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz dismisses it as a prank. Robin does not. Robin’s late husband pulled the same card, the three of Swords, in a reading the night before he perished in a car accident. As more cards show up and sinister threats appear, Liz starts to realize there is someone extremely maniacal at the helm.
Liz reaches out to her brother’s former college roommate, occult aficionado Nick Garfield. As Nick accompanies her into the voodoo community to uncover the origin of the deck, sparks ignite. Kaboom! Not too long after, a woman is discovered murdered and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Liz is unflinching when it comes to clearing her friend and joins forces with Nick to decipher secrets and delve into the supernatural realm for assistance before becoming the next visitor on the other side.
Brava! Staab delivers effortless chills that eerily wash over you… leaving you shivering in wicked delight awaiting the sophomore volume.
Berkley Prime Crime is on a roll. Their literary gems have been coming all year with the most superlative storytellers striking hit after hit after hit and if the upcoming books I have in my possession are any indication… 2012 is going to be magically intriguing.
Visit Rochelle’s website for all the latest eerie happenings.