When Adam Quist, U.S ambassador to the Dominican Republic dies, there seems very little mystery. Yet Edgar Espinosa-Joes (E J) is given the assignment to interview his daughter. She seems to believe there is more involved, more at stake than known. E J occasionally does odd investigations for his mentor Garrett Yancy. Yet this investigation is somewhat out of the ordinary.
As EJ has a clandestine interview with Quist’s daughter, he is left with more questions than answers. She believes her father has been murdered – or even worse, turned into a zombie. E J isn’t laughing though: he is from the Dominican Republic and has seen the violence and ceremonies involved with the ages old voodoo movement.
When the grave is exhumed and the body found missing, E J begins to fear the worst. With the help of his best friend, a crooked Dominican cop, he begins the long and dangerous trek of discovery. The menace becomes personal as he and his friend are poisoned, and then his family is interjected into the danger. The drums are beating, drawing him further into peril and madness. He becomes the victim and is pursued as he tries to find the answers. His family carries on with their own antics, while he slips through the clutches of his adversaries, only to find even deeper mysteries.
Can he get to the bottom of this strange and sinister disappearance? Can he keep the Ambassador’s daughter safe as he untangles and age old web of deceit before his own life is forfeit?
Olsen takes you into the heart of a culture that is very different from our own, and yet alike in many ways. There is a hunger and need that many never have to experience that shape the thoughts and beliefs of the people. The descriptions of the events are chilling yet Olsen interjects a bit of the ridiculous which also occasionally draws a chuckle.
His characters are rich in both bravado and flaws, but real to the point of conviction. The humor seems like it would be out of place, and yet it adds character and believability to a strange incredulous investigation.
If you enjoy murder mysteries, and are interested in voodoo cultures and zombies you will find yourself immersed and charmed in the chapters in this novel. It would be great reading for a book club, with a varying set of situations to draw from.