DE MOJO BLUES by A.R. Flowers


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Tucept Highjohn is a black Vietnam vet returned to the States after a ghastly tour of the jungles. At first he finds little to nourish, him back home in Memphis, Tennessee: his girlfriend, in college now, has new friends and is not receptive; the people he meets make him feel downcast about the spiritual prognosis for the black race in general. And thus he seeks out the counsel of a local hoodooman, the keeper of occult secrets of black theosophy encapsulated in the mojo amulet that Tucept's best Vietnam buddy wore and gave to Tucept shortly before being killed in action. In this first novel, Flowers has two potentially interesting subjects at his disposal: the lives of black soldiers in Vietnam (some lovely descriptions of the ""daplines,"" the elaborate handshaking rituals); and the hoodoo studies Tucept undertakes. But the author's relative lack of skill fails them; they lurch and careen, barely under control; and a dramatic node--that Tucept was charged, in Vietnam, with fragging an officer--seems barely to know when to come onto the dance floor, when not. Stylistic cliches mar the Vietnam narrative (""Recognition hardened in the captain's eyes""), while the Memphis hoodoo sections too much resemble warmed-over Castaneda, complete with a phantomly guru--Spijoko--and waves of distressing purple and capital-lettered incantations. Well-intentioned but muddled debut work.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1985
Publisher: Dutton