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HURRICANE by Jewell Parker Rhodes

HURRICANE

By Jewell Parker Rhodes

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4165-3712-0
Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Voodoo sorceress Marie Laveau gets into more black magic and menace in the Louisiana Bayou.

Doctor Marie Laveau: She turns men’s heads, talks to the dead and wanders into her most dangerous misadventure yet in the third novel in a trilogy by Rhodes (Yellow Moon, 2008, etc.). In her latest outing, Laveau is swept out of her usual haunts in New Orleans. Her dead muse is the ghost of El, the head nurse at Charity Hospital in the Big Easy, who since being murdered has visited the voodooienne regularly, becoming her mother figure and protector. El draws Marie first to a gruesome family homicide and then further south to a fortress of a town deep in the boondocks. In DeLaire, La., Marie finds the familial peculiarity that bonds Deet and Aaron Malveaux, the town’s sheriffs who share more than a brotherly bond. Even more disturbing than the secretive brothers is their powerful prophet of a grandmother, Nana, who is using a pharmacy full of drugs to bear the pain of her cancer. With visions that rival Marie’s, the old woman is a disturbing mirror and an unwinnable challenge for Laveau’s own magical healing properties. “A Voodoo Queen with full power can heal anything,” the old woman croaks. “Faith healing, faith-healers. Some kiss poisonous snakes; some, use prayer; some, like Christ, raise the dead. But every healing has a cost.” The plot runs a bit amiss in the last half, belatedly drawing in the cast of characters from Marie’s day job at the hospital and leaning a bit heavily on the metaphysical elements that anchor this particular trilogy. But like any good last act, Rhodes and her feisty heroine pull out all the stops in the end, combining spiritual possession, a voodoo ceremony and a ferocious storm for a set piece worthy of any Hollywood production.

Less sexy and more spooky than its predecessors, but a fine entry in a solid supernatural series.