Quinton offers evocative descriptions of an old New Orleans where in the cemeteries “Above-ground crypts, white as decaying bone, lay in repose in close, straight rows,” and he’s adept at crafting creepy images that stay with the reader, such as a skull that appears to “have been licked clean.” The novel is alive with the fascinating particulars of Vodou, such as gris charms and dolls that bite, though some everyday period and personality details that would help anchor key characters like Jimmy and Frank come a little too late.
Some readers may find it curious and distracting that some of the characters are written speaking in a strong Creole dialect (“I got isshoo’s a’right”) especially as Del, who grew up in the same region, does not do so herself. Structurally, the novel is sound, though it takes a while for the story to get going, with many violent acts being committed while the cast gets introduced and Del and Frank spin their wheels. Those who enjoy evocative prose and taking their time in a richly atmospheric magical world will enjoy this series kickoff.
Takeaway: Vodou with a touch of noir in this promising bayou urban fantasy.
Great for fans of: Theophilus Monroe, Adrian Phoenix’s Black Dust Mambo, John Everson’s Voodoo Heart.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A