By John Everson
Published by Flame Tree Press
Available: October 20, 2020
Now that I know what John Everson is capable of, I will be tracking down more of his work. You see, Voodoo Heart does something I love, but haven’t come across much yet – it blends crime and horror seamlessly. I love a good detective novel, especially when it has a strong grasp on suspense; incorporating elements of horror makes the mystery all the more desirable.
Voodoo Heart tells the story of a New Orleans detective that has recently lost his wife to horrific and curious circumstances – she’s vanished from their bed, leaving nothing but some blood and her heart. Before Lawrence can get to the meaning of it all, more alerts are sounded throughout the city. All over, people have disappeared the same way. This continues for weeks before Lawrence gets any kind of leg up on what is possibly behind it all: a terrible voodoo curse. And if he doesn’t hurry, others he loves will be next.
I was entertained throughout this novel. I especially enjoyed the bizarre dances and meetings Lawrence experiences in his search for answers. How much of these acts are based on reality, I don’t know – but it all sounds well researched. So, if Everson made it all up, kudos to him! There is some strange and wicked shit at play here.
My issues really just came in the final act. Like with other Flame Tree titles, the ending seemed rushed and sudden. Some things weren’t rightfully explained in the process, while other things were provided in an annoying bad-guy-spills-their-secrets-in-a-long-monologue sort of scene. I also had trouble with the fact that the national news never came into play, nor any outside force. In reality, if this many people were going missing (and assumed dead), the FBI or someone would have gotten involved. New Orleans would not have been left high and dry with tens of people dropping hearts on their beds every few weeks.
Issues aside, I really had fun with Voodoo Heart. I definitely recommend it, and definitely intend to read more of Everson moving forward.
Highlights: Strong crime backdrop, but supernatural and mysterious at the same time … moves with ease and suspense
Shadows: The lack of explanation as to “how” things were committed within the homes without raising awareness or showing signs of entry … somewhat rushed ending … mass murders/disappearances of this nature would have brought about national news coverage, if not the FBI as well
For fans of : Crime and horror blends … witchcraft and voodoo … cults and demon worshipping … spells and curses
Takeaway: Voodoo Heart is an exciting and bloody treat that expertly combines the genres of crime and horror.
Would I read this author again? Yes
Review by Aiden Merchant
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