Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster.
Favorite character: Kallie.
All in all: Fun, fast paced and full of suprises.
Synopsis: Kallie Rivière, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of one of those times her mentor warned her about when she visits New Orleans to attend the Hecatean Alliance’s annual carnival: her hard-bodied conjurer hookup ends up dead in her blood-drenched bed. And he was killed by something that Kallie would never dream of touching—the darkest of dark juju, soul-eating juju—a black dust hex that may have been meant to kill her.
Now Kallie has to use every bit of hoodoo knowledge and bayou-bred mojo she possesses to clear her own name and find the killer—even as that dark sorcerer hunts Kallie and her friends. But Kallie’s search for the truth soon leads her in a direction she never anticipated—back home to Bayou Cyprés Noir, and to Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie’s aunt, protector, and hoodoo mentor . . . who is looking more and more like she just might be the one who wants Kallie dead.
My Thoughts: Black Dust Mambo opens up right smack in the middle of the action and doesn’t stop. (Except when Kallie and her friend have to judge a wet boxer’s contest.) But other than that, the pace is fast as Kallie tries to figure out who is trying to kill her. At the same time, she deals with painful memories from 9 years ago, which is also integral to the plot, Kallie's character and serves as another mystery.
I felt that the storyline and the way it unfolds is creative and suspenseful. Some descriptions were repetitive, but a lot more were very pretty and unique. One thing that Phoenix really did well was conjure up smells - the incense, the herbs, the food. My mouth was watering for New Orleans.
The cast of characters is large, and although I’m not sure if I really needed to see everyone in the story that was there, it still wasn’t difficult to follow who was who. The one thing that bothered me a little bit was not that the story was told by so many different points of view, but that the same incident was sometimes told by different people.
There was also some dialogue that I thought was a little silly and I felt did nothing for the story, banter when people were in the middle of an important discussion and there were also a few plot devices that I could have done without (aforementioned wet boxer’s contest, Layne-Augustine “exploring” his new body).
I loved the tension between Kallie, Layne and Layne’s ex-wife McKenna. Although it has potential for yet another love triangle, I felt that this one was more realistic and therefore more tense. McKenna and Layne still care about each other but it is clear that there is a growing attraction between Layne and Kallie. Put this on top of the fact that McKenna hates Kallie right away and it’s a very interesting dynamic.
I did like Kallie. She was very feisty and stubborn, which I liked, but sometimes it got annoying. I wonder why characters who are in danger always claim they don’t need protection? What’s up with that? Also, when Kallie found out something about someone, why did she stay at the Carnivale? And, there was a huge reveal at the end that I found absolutely intriguing but it was sort of pushed aside to be explained another time. I don’t feel that it received the drama that it deserved. Also, the way it ended…I guess I really have to get used to trilogies where one mystery is taking off right at the end of the previous one. It was definitely a cliffhanger.
But besides those points which may sound really offputting, I really liked this book. A lot. It was just…fun. Really, really fun. The mystery that was going on was exciting and that it happened to take place in New Orleans during a magic festival made it even more exotic. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.
4 ½ out of 5 stars.
Afterthoughts: Lots of differing opinions on this one and I can see some of the disgruntled readers points, but I also agree with others that felt this story was just "yummy." I’m not sure if it would have worked as well in another setting, I think the locale of New Orleans and Louisiana really lends itself well to the story. There is just something amazing about that part of the country. I feel as if anything *could* happen there.
Posted by Midnyte Reader at 2:35 PM