Continue below to read my review of the book and to check out the rest of the stops on the 'Voodoo Heart' Blog Tour brought to you by Random Things Tours, Flame Tree Press, and John Everson!
'Voodoo Heart' is a supernatural thriller set in the heart of New Orleans. Written by Bram Stoker Award Winner, John Everson, it follows the story of Detective Lawrence 'Cork' Ribaud.
After waking alone in a bloody bed with his wife missing and an even more ominous piece of evidence sitting amidst the still wet stain, Cork realizes she has just become the latest victim in a growing list of those who've gone missing under the same circumstances. Across the city, at some point during the night.. once a month, people are disappearing mysteriously.
Though he doesn't believe in voodoo, the bizarre crime scenes make him think that someone who does might be involved. Nothing left behind of the missing except a pool of blood on the sheets and a heart, presumably from the victim, his investigation turns toward the idea that someone may be conducting rituals of some kind or hoping to make it look that way.
The story itself is well put together and the mystery seems to hold up. I have far too much experience consuming this type of content probably, so I definitely saw some of the conclusive reveals coming in the early pages of the book.. but there was still a surprise or two along the way.
Everson does dialogue unusually well. The conversations all felt incredibly natural, rather than carrying with them forced emotion and posturing in an attempt to portray a certain image of a character. Their personalities aligned seamlessly with who they were as people.
There is a tendency to overuse a specific phrase, but thankfully it's all in one area of the book and doesn't reoccur later.. as long as you don't count the incessant need to keep calling attention to NOLA Hopitoulas IPA. Like, I get it.. it's his drink of choice.. and it's a local favorite, but a couple shout-outs are plenty. Also, I don't mind sexual situations in books.. with or without purpose.. I don't care how crassly it's referred to.. but the "the long tube of flesh that was growing even longer" made me laugh hysterically and that was unfortunate, because it was actually a pretty intense scene that could have had more of an affect on the reader if it had been worded differently.
I had some minor issues with details regarding New Orleans, but other than that, the story is richly tinted in darkness.. both that of very human impulses and potentially disturbing, even controversial moments. This book is definitely not for the squeamish, anyone wishing to avoid themes of black magic rituals, or those who are uncomfortable with very taboo sex.. but for me, those were probably the most interesting elements.
My favorite part of the story was actually the way Everson set up the regional.. let's call it disbursement of territories.. and the concept of how that was all developed from its origin to the modern design. I really enjoyed the idea and the way the parties were distinguished.. and actually would have liked to have seen more done with it.
If you're looking for a quick horror read and don't mind an unintentional laugh or two, you might give this a try. As for triggers, in addition to those above, the violent acts are on the extreme side, there is mention of domestic abuse, and even some non-consensual situations.
John Everson is a staunch advocate for the culinary joys of the jalapeno and an unabashed fan of 1970's European horror cinema. He is also the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant and its two sequels, Sacrifice and Redemption, as well as nine other novels, including the erotic horror tour de force and Bram Stoker Award finalist NightWhere, the haunting thriller The Devil’s Equinox and his latest, Voodoo Heart. Other novels include The Pumpkin Man, Siren, The 13th and the spider-driven Violet Eyes .
Over the past 25 years, his short fiction has appeared in more than 75 magazines and anthologies and received a number of critical accolades, including frequent Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthology series. His story “Letting Go” was a Bram Stoker Award finalist in 2007 and “The Pumpkin Man” was included in the anthology All American Horror: The Best of the First Decade of the 21st Century. In addition to his own twisted worlds, he has also written stories in shared universes, including The Vampire Diaries and Jonathan Maberry’s V-Wars series (recently sold to Netflix), as well as for Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Green Hornet.