Monday, May 9, 2016

#Monday Review - The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish (Urban Fantasy)

Series: Kincaid Strange # 1
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: May 10, 2016 (CANADA!)
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Source: Author/Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...

For starters, she's only 27. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighborhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.

And then she becomes the target...As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

The Voodoo Killings, by author Kristi Charish, is the first installment in a brand new series featuring protagonist Kincaid Strange. Kincaid is a full fledged practitioner (i.e. necromancer) who lives in Seattle and has access to the land of the dead, better known as Otherside. She was once a consultant to the Seattle PD until a new Captain came along and disavowed her. 

It also doesn't help her bank account any that the laws of the land were passed to make it a crime to raise zombies to settle disputes. Kincaid finds that she is drawn into a dangerous situation when a new zombie named Cameron Wight appears outside a bar that belongs to a friend of hers. Not knowing what to do with him, and hoping her mentor Max can fix the problem, Kincaid finds herself getting deeper and deeper into things she can't understand.

Kincaid knows that being seen with a zombie can cause her a whole lot of problems. But, Kincaid can't walk away from what is happening in her city, or to Cameron who doesn't remember how he died. All zombies know how they died! Not when a friend named Lee Ling (zombie) asks Kincaid to find out what happened to a zombie that was murdered while passing as human. 

Not when a practitioner is murdered by the same killer and her former friends Aaron and Sarah call for assistance. And, not when Kincaid starts to question whether or not her former boyfriend Aaron Beal is behind the murders or her mentor, Max. One of the more interesting aspects of this story is Kincaid's relationship with a very powerful ghost named Gideon Lawrence. 

From the moment that he arrives on the scene, Kincaid's abilities to draw on the Otherside comes into question. Will Gideon kill her to get what he wants out of Max? Or, will he teach her things she hasn't been told in order to survive what's to come? I will say that I liked the banter between the two characters. I look forward to seeing what Gideon has in store for Kincaid in the next installment.

There is a bit of a mystery behind Kincaid which is saved until the end of the book. The mystery behind who the actual killer is, was also done in a very impressive manner. I dare say I have nothing kind to say about the Captain who tossed Kincaid aside just because he's paranormal bigot. I didn't much care for the on again, off again relationship between Kincaid and Aaron, but not because it didn't belong in the story. I have no use for characters who turns their back on someone, and then doesn't have the consideration to apologize. 

I am impressed with the vividness of Charish's world. There really is a whole lot to explore in Seattle, and if you haven't yet visited there, make sure you put it on your bucket list. Kincaid's version of Seattle is one that is filled zombies, ghouls, ghosts, and poltergeists. There is even an underground city where zombies go to get drinks to sustain them. Kincaid's roommate Nate Cade is a ghost who helps her out with seance's and other odd jobs to pay the bills. 

Before you say this sounds a lot like Anita Blake, just stop. You'd be 100 percent wrong. Kincaid doesn't use sex with several hundred characters in order to keep her going. She also has no use for the current crop of cops, including her ex, that have made her life what it is now. 

Readers and Reviewers are most likely to know Charish from her Owl series which will release its third installment called Owl and the Electric Samurai August 26, 2016. In case you are wondering how I have a copy of this book and it hasn't released in the US yet. I can honestly say that Kristi was good enough to ask the publisher to send a copy to me. So, thank you Kristi, and thank you Random House Canada for being so awesome!

If you are curious about getting your own copy and can't wait until it releases in the US, here is some information I borrowed by Kristi's web page.

USA/International readers: At this time THE VOODOO KILLINGS ebook will only be available in Canada. 

CHAPTERS/INDIGO is more than happy to ship internationally as is the Canadian branch of Amazon, AMAZON.CA (You can log in with your .com account). Book 17.75 CAD + 9.98 CAD Shipping = 27.73 CAD = ~ 19-20 USD inc shipping. Considering our lousy Canadian dollar, not a bad deal.

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