Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 292pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Rochelle Staab on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Who Do Voodoo?
When Liz Cooper's friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes it off as a prank. Robin refuses to ignore the omen - her late husband drew the same card, the Three of Swords, in a reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. as more cards and darker threats appear, Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante...
Liz turns to her brother's ex-college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick leads her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, she can't ignore their attraction to each other. Then, a woman is found murdered and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz teams with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond - or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer...
The debut novel by Rochelle Staab, Who do Voodoo? is anything but a typical debut. Staab has written a very upscale, classy cozy with an L.A. backdrop that will have mystery fans on the edge of their collective seats. Staab's ability to write about the occult with such clarity is one of the things that sets this novel apart from others of it's kind. Staab is able to foster a sense of magic and mysticism that pervades the novel, which will appeal to paranormal fans as well as cozy mystery lovers. A great novel, for a fast paced holiday season, full of interesting characters, and a hint of romance that will have readers spellbound.
It's difficult for me to imagine that this is Rochelle Staab's debut novel. It is rare that a beginning author can bring readers a story with this much energy. Her style is smooth and logical. She gives readers clues, motives and suspects that are relevant and necessary to the story. In essence, Staab writes like a pro. She is able to create relationships and build suspense throughout the story, while still leaving enough to the readers imagination that they can't quite figure the ending out. Staab didn't take the typical cozy route by setting her story in a small town either. You can't get too much bigger than L.A. as a setting. All of these factors added together made, Who Do Voodoo? seem like the work of a well seasoned writer.
I liked the fact that Staab made her main character Liz somewhat of a skeptic when it came to occult. Because Liz was so unfamiliar with what she was dealing with, Staab was able to approach the occult from the perspective of someone who is just starting out. She explains everything in such great detail, her descriptive prowess was put to the test I'm sure. Liz is a psychologist, she doesn't believe in ghosts or anything that cannot be explained and I thought Staab played that well against religious professor and occult expert, Nick. These two are so different, but together they create quite a sleuthing pair. Staab really surprised me with the depth of research she had to do to pull this one off and I'm looking forward to where we go from here.
The mystery aspect of the book was well thought out and executed. I thought the tarot card on Robin's door was a great lead in to the mystery and how it tied in with the occult. I liked the fact that Liz who is a skeptic is best friends with a woman who is a total believer, that was a nice touch. The suspects and the motives provided for each character were plausible and when I finally got to the end, I was totally surprised, the hallmark of a good mystery writer. The overall premise was original and interesting, not an overused or repeated theme. Voodoo isn't something I expected in a cozy and I found it very intriguing.
Staab's characters were developed and three dimensional. Liz was so much fun to read about and to see her change from hard nosed psychologist who would never believe in anything outside the box to a person who had a reverence and acceptance of the possibilities was amazing. I loved Nick he added so much knowledge and interest to the story. They were well matched and the inkling of attraction between them was palpable. I'm sure future books will delve more into their back stories and how they fit together.
I thought Staab did a remarkable job of blending all of the elements to give the reader a great reading experience. Weaving occult references, old movie phrases, a little bit of romance and a whole lot of sleuthing together to make a great debut novel. You'll want to get started on the ground floor with this series, I have feeling it's going to be a big one!
Who Do Voodoo? is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Rochelle Staab is a debut author with a professional background as a marketing and advertising record label executive in the music industry and an award-winning Top 40 radio programmer.
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