Released: June 29, 2010
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Authors After Dark 2012
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
"There will be times, girl, when all your magic ain't going to be enough, times when it will seem to dry up like mud under the noonday sun, or even make matters worse . . ."
Kallie Riviere, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of one of those times her mentor warned her about when she visits New Orleans to attend the Hecatean Alliance's annual carnival: her hard-bodied conjurer hookup ends up dead in her blood-drenched bed. And he was killed by something that Kallie would never dream of touching -- the darkest of dark juju, soul-eating juju -- a black dust hex that may have been meant to kill her.
Now Kallie has to use every bit of hoodoo knowledge and bayou-bred mojo she possesses to clear her own name and find the killer -- even as that dark sorcerer hunts Kallie and her friends. But Kallie's search for the truth soon leads her in a direction she never anticipated -- back home to Bayou Cypres Noir, and to Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie's aunt, protector, and hoodoo mentor . . . who is looking more and more like she just might be the one who wants Kallie dead.
Well, Black Dust Mambo was certainly an interesting book to end my reading break. I began this title at the pool while in New Orleans during AAD12 and have been reading it on and off since then. I was hooked and absolutely loved the lingo and characterization. I also loved the dramatic start.
The only two weaknesses I found were the multiple POVs and the middle of the book. The POVs made this book strong and weak. In the beginning, we jumped from character to character and never got a chance to take a breather--something that I enjoyed since I was constantly on my toes; however, these POV swaps overwhelmed the middle of the book and slowed the story down dramatically as this urban fantasy turned into a "who dun it" kind of story with angst thrown in for good measure. If I had read this book even a month ago, the middle would have made me DNF this series, sadly.
Nitpicks: I wish there were more explanations. What exactly is the loa? Some of the phrases were unfamiliar to me since I'm neither French, nor from the south. I would have liked less lusting (though I suppose after being in NOLA for a week, it's understandable) and more delving into the mysterious aspects of this story's universe, like the Nomads, the HA, maybe even the magic and some backstory on voodoo. I suppose less superficial and more background would have been appreciated, though the wet boxer contest definitely made my imagination go wild.
Strengths included characters that were spunky and easy to relate with. The beginning and ending were jampacked with action that left me wanting more. In fact, I'm ready to read book two due to the cliffhanger and the ending in general. I was craving a romance, and there is a hint to one, and now I want to continue reading this series to see if it will actually happen. What I also loved--especially after leaving NOLA and (oddly enough after too many sleepless nights) missing it--was how Adrian captured the atmosphere of this city in scenes of this book.
There are certainly other UF novels out there that I would recommend over Black Dust Mambo, however, this is the start to a new series with a lot of potential. If you are looking for a refreshing approach to the genre, this book may be of interest to you due to the atmosphere alone. If setting is not big for you, or if you are a bit more critical about slow middles or too many POVs, I would suggest borrowing this book from someone if you're still willing to give it a chance.
1. Black Dust Mambo
2. Black Heart Loa (Tori's Review)