Series: Kincaid Sinclair #1
Published by Random House of Canada on May 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Urban
Sexual Content: References to sex.
Reviewed by: Kim
Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner... For starters, she's only twenty-seven. 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 neighbourhood 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.
Kincaid Sinclair has just had her livelihood made illegal, discovers a ghost trap in her lobby and now a random zombie shows up at her favourite bar... She's having a rough day in Seattle. And of course, it's raining.
THE VOODOO KILLINGS takes place in the wet, ghost-filled world of Seattle, where a new police chief has put a stop on using mediums to question murder victims and witnesses, either in zombie or ghost form. Overnight, Kincaid has lost her main source of income and her Detective boyfriend too. He says it's not related, but she figures it is; when you raise the dead for a living, you gotta trust your gut feeling.
The zombies and the voodoo magic make this book. The "otherside" is it's own character, cold and draining, and potentially addictive in the wrong hands. Some people, like Kincaid's mentor Max, can access it as easily as opening a door (although that door doesn't always shut), but Kincaid needs to actually try, needs to concentrate to call on ghosts and to work the bindings that articulate a zombie.
I really liked Kincaid; she was fabulously down to earth for a woman with a ghost for a roommate. She can see her savings disappearing, and the need to make rent makes her make stupid decisions, which I can understand. It doesn't help when she gets a third emergency roommate in the form of a "lost" zombie who doesn't remember how he ended up this way. He needs brains, now, and they don't come cheap.
The plot was excellently twisty. Just when I thought I knew who was behind the lost zombie and the ghost attacks and the ritual murders plaguing the city, another important detail would be revealed. Although it meant a bit of confusion at the beginning, the slow discovery of some of the details really led to a complete understanding of the characters, slowly peeling layer upon layer.
With an electric end and a dramatic cliffhanger that made me swear out loud in surprise, THE VOODOO KILLINGS manages to make magic accessible and scientific at the same time. It's a fun ride with an original setting and a good attention to world-building that I really dug.Series Titles:
- For more magical urban fantasy with excellent world-building, try A Madness of Angels, by Kate Griffin, or Nightwise, by RS Belcher.
- For original takes on zombies, try The Reburialists, by JC Nelson, My Life as a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie, #1) or Double Dead, by Chuck Wendig.