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Who Do Voodoo?
A Mind for Murder Mystery, No 1
Rochelle Staab

Berkley Prime Crime
November 2011/ 978-0-425-24459-3
Mystery/Amateur Sleuth/Paranormal

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Psychologist Liz Cooper is very rational minded. Perhaps that is because of her chosen profession. On the other hand, perhaps she is that way in rebellion against her mother’s use of tarot cards. Liz is divorced, loves her work, and cherishes her friends. Robin Bloom is her best friend; they’ve known each other since grade school. Robin is a widow, and when someone starts leaving evil looking tarot cards at her door, she freaks out. They are the same three cards that Liz’s mother read for Josh, Robin’s late husband, the day before he died.

Robin works for Collins Talent, reporting directly to the owner, Sam Collins. As a perk she has access to backstage concert passes for her friends. Because he is an occult expert, Liz contacts her brother’s college buddy, Nick Garfield to ask what he might be able to learn about the unusual tarot cards. They are happy to be reacquainted and Nick attends a concert with Liz. Things take an unexpected turn for the worse when Sam’s young girlfriend, Sophie, is killed in the parking lot when the after-party ends. Sophie had fought with Robin, and before long, Robin is in police custody as a suspect in Sophie’s murder. Naturally, Liz will do everything she can to help her friend-including entering the world of voodoo to help find the real killer. You see, Sophie was apparently invovled in the voodoo scene. With Nick by her side, she tries to decipher clues, and as days go by, their mutual attraction is what becomes clearer than anything.

This is a great first novel for Rachelle Staab. As the voodoo elements of the story came into play, I was surprised to find myself drawn into learning more about it. Staab writes in a careful manner; very clearly explaining the types of voodoo without talking down to the readers.

The characters are all interesting and believable. Liz’s mother is a hot-ticket. She reads tarot cards, she insists on calling Liz’s brother “your brother Dave,” as if Liz wouldn’t know her own brother’s name, and is constantly meddling to get Liz reunited with her ex-husband, the no-good Jarret. Liz is smart and loyal, and Nick is smart and sexy. There are many more interesting folks in this book, but you’ll have to read it for yourself to meet them.

Murder, mystery, voodoo magic, curses, and hexes abound in this book. Add in some humor, sexy romance and very likeable characters and you have a great read. I read it in two sittings and enjoyed every word. If you are looking for a clever and unique new series to read, I recommend you get a copy of this book right away. The next in the series, “Bruja Brouhaha,” will be out next summer.

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2011
© 2011