BOOK: ‘Who Do, Voodoo?’ by Rochelle Staab
I haven’t read a mystery novel in quite awhile – high fantasy and young adult tend to take up a lot of my reading time to be honest. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I received a copy of Who Do Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab. All I knew was that I do enjoy the occasional mystery and I love the topic of voodoo (or vodou).
The story is about Liz Cooper and her best (very, very best) friend in the world, Robin Bloom. An anonymous person began leaving threatening tarot cards on Robin’s door. Robin is very superstitious while Liz is not. Liz just wants to find the punk who is trying to scare her friend to death.
Liz’s pushy mother orders her to ask Nick Garfield’s help – a professor in the occult who happened to be Liz’s brother’s best friend. Of course, the sexual tension between Liz and Nick was quite obvious from the start. Kind of awkward that Liz’s cheating ex-husband is still calling her every other day. During their investigation, they pinpoint to one suspect: Sophie, a young woman who is dating Robin’s boss. Sophie might also be a New Orleans voo doo princess.
Despite all these silly instances in the story, the plot quickly turns dangerous as Robin is framed for murder. Sophie’s murder.
Excuse the clichÃ© comment to follow but this book was seriously quite a fun ‘romp’ to read, as they say. I’ve always been a fan of mystery books written by and aimed towards women. Liz Cooper is a great character. She is not too young but not quite too old to have a little spunk as the female lead. Her friendship with Robin is relatable and realistic. She is smart and brave enough to do her own investigations after the crime took place. Despite receiving help from her romantic interest, Liz was in control throughout the book.
I also appreciated the slight element of the supernatural thrown in. The writer, Staab, found a delicate balance of realism and the otherworldly. I think so many people experience things in their lives that can either be explained logically… or it can be taken as some thing much more mysterious than we are capable of really understanding. Voo doo is a great example of this type of supernatural phenomenon. Staab wrote about the voodoo culture in a way that respected its history and she did not make it sound ridiculous. Although Liz was a skeptic from the beginning, Staab guided Liz in the story until she experienced and met the people of a culture she had written off as something ‘not real’ in her mind. Liz represented the skeptics who learned that voo doo was more than just a silly tourist trap in New Orleans. It had a deep cultural and historical background that deserved to be noticed and understood.
Overall, I really liked the book and I think it’s a good mystery. It even took me awhile to pinpoint the real killer. Staab did a great job throwing the readers off towards other suspects but made sure that the reasoning behind the real murderer was believable.
Visit the author’s website at www.rochellestaab.com.
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