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THE GOOD HOUSE by Tananarive Due Kirkus Star


by Tananarive Due

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 2003
ISBN: 0-7434-4900-2
Publisher: Atria

Due returns to the supernatural fiction she mines so well in the series begun with My Soul to Keep (1997) and The Living Blood (2001), though her latest falls outside that series.

Due keeps richly packed and layered description alive with lines of suspense laid through each marbled paragraph. Since the jacket copy gives away the opening plot turn (a suicide), readers may find the first chapter somewhat overcrowded and slow-going until the background material sucks them in and gives power to a forthcoming death that the novel itself only faintly prefigures (thus the reader seemingly knows more than the author). Angela Toussaint divorced her heavy-handed husband Tariq Hill a few years back and now divides care of their son Corey. She’s a Hollywood lawyer who runs her own entertainment agency and has come back to her dismally spare Pacific Northwest home village of Sacajawea, Washington, for a summer vacation with Corey. Tariq shows up and Angela finds herself bedding her ex. They live in the marvelous Good House, built by a pharmacist in 1907, then willed to Angela’s Gramma Marie Toussaint, a Creole herbalist regarded by ignorant townsfolk as a supernatural doctor. Gramma Marie’s wild daughter Dominique gave birth to Angela but later commits suicide at the kitchen table with an overdose of Sominex, as discovered by Angela. Gramma raises Angela, who inherits Good House. Corey himself has a wild streak, stages a robbery and steals his mother's African voodoo ring, an heirloom, for a girlfriend—or so he says. He doesn’t get it back to Angela for four years. Then, during a Fourth of July party she hosts with Tariq, Corey shoots himself in the cellar with Tariq’s old gun, and Angela skids into a mental hospital for three months. An invisible force brings more murder and suicide to Sacajawea, and, with her old lover, Myles Fisher, at her side, Angela faces her demon as past and future intertwine.

Spread the good juju. Due weaves a stronger net than ever.