Kallie Riveri is a root worker or hoodoo apprentice from the Bayou Cypress Noir who is in New Orleans for the Hecatean Alliance's May Madness Carnival aka Carnival of Fools. After spending the night doing heavy drinking and having hot sex, she wakes in her hotel room to find her lover Gage dead.
Things go from Holy crap to what the hell is happening here, when nomad Layne Valin shows at her room asking for Gage, his nomad brother. After discovering Gage dead, and Kallie covered in blood, Layne, (who happens to be a hellfire or vessel for the dead), tries to connect to Gage’s departed soul to no use. Layne discovers that Gage’s soul has been destroyed by a black curse.
Kallie has a short fused temper and spends most of the first part of the book in skimpy clothing (underwear and bra). Soon thereafter, she is considered to be the prime subject for Gage’s murder by Lord Basil Augustine of the Hecatean Alliance. A fact that is quickly remedied after Basil is shot.
Kallie is an obnoxious character at times who is unwilling to believe that anyone is trying to protect her or that she needs protection in the first place from those who are trying to kill her. She can’t help but to reach out and touch someone with her fist without thinking things out first including those who are her friends. The one positive about her seems to be her ability to thwart evil Black Dust Mambo or curses by the bad guy because of a major secret that is revealed at the end of the story.
One of the best lines of the book was said by Lord Augustine, the Hecatean Alliance leader, when he says to Kallie “You really must stop punching people. Have you considered anger management or a twelve-step program for quick-fisted pugilists?” Ok, yes, I laughed my silly head off. Hey, it was 2:30 in the morning!
Black Dust Mambo is first book in the series thus there are a lot of characters introduced, as well as a major cliffhanger that just ends when things are getting really good especially between Kallie and Layne. Then again, this is pretty much typical of Adrian Phoenix’s writing style following on the heels of her series The Maker’s Song.
All you need to know about the rest of the characters is this:
Belladonna Brown is a mambo, or voodoo priestess. She is Kallie's best friend and is a riot when it comes to men’s wet boxer competition and her protectiveness of Kallie when she gets in over her head.
Dallas Bruler is also a root doctor who studied and apprenticed under Kallie’s aunt Gabrielle LaRue. He was sent to protect Kallie and nearly ends up dead by the villain with a major vendetta against LaRue. He is definitely a man whore who sleeps with other men’s wives, and has a bounty on his head from more than a few of them.
Layne Valin is a nomad, as well as a living breathing spirit cabinet whose body is used to find out the truth from the deceased about what happened. *Note* the nomad aspect was never truly explained, but it appears they are outside of the Hecatean Alliances spear of influence. Valin is also the so called love interest for Kallie that really isn’t fully explored because of all that is happening around both characters.
Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie’s supposed Aunt and mentor, has a bunch of secrets which are exposed at the end of the story.
Black Heart Loa is the second novel in this series and released June 28, 2011 by Pocket Books.