Jewell Parker Rhodes
Atria, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
ake a trip to sinful, passionate, and jazz-filled New Orleans in
, the highly anticipated sequel to
by prize-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes. Building once again upon the legendary story of the infamous 19th century Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Rhodes gives her contemporary protagonist, Dr. Marie Laveau, a most diabolical challenge: confront and eliminate an African vampire - the wazimamoto.
s the great-great granddaughter of the Voodoo Queen, Marie, the 21st century physician, is caught between the world of science and ancient spiritual traditions, and she must rely upon all of her powers if she is to prevail (or even survive) in her battle with the resentful killer who is terrorizing New Orleans and draining the bloods of his victims.
ortunately, Marie has the assistance and support from Dr. Louis DuLac (her father-figure mentor at Charity Hospital where they both work) and Detective Daniel Parks (a northerner who had recently transplanted himself to the Crescent City). Unfortunately, the exsanguine bodies are rapidly accumulating in the city's morgue.
n the face of terrifying odds, Marie, DuLac, and Parks do have at least one important clue: the ineffable power of music. So, by carefully attending to the percussive rhythms of musicians, Marie as the spiritually gifted descendant of a voodoo priestess may succeed in vanquishing the terrifying wazimamoto.
s an intriguing morality tale of good versus evil,
is written in a narrative style that possesses a special kind of lyrical intensity, and that alone lifts this thriller far above the run-of-the-mill and mostly vapid vampire novels that have lately flooded the publishing market. Moreover, as a post-modern riff on 19th century slave narratives,
stands out as an intriguing (if not consistently successful) blending of provocative legends, African spirituality, and historical facts.
orrowing from Coleridge's famous advice, suspend your disbelief (more than a little bit) when you pick up a copy of
, and prepare yourself to enjoy a seductively monstrous thriller.
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