Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I can find you anywhere. Anytime. Yo’ heart be mine Kallie Riviere, hoodoo woman.”
At the end of Black Dust Mambo, Kallie learned a lot about her family and none of it good. She has a black loa in place of her soul, her aunt stole someone else’s identity and they want it back, and her favorite cousin has vanished. Now spells are backfiring, wards are failing, and a category five hurricane is heading towards New Orleans. Kallie fears that Doctor Heron may have triggered something when she shredded his soul. It’s only when another Loa declares war on Kallie that she realizes that she herself is the cause of all the magical trouble. Only with the help of her friends, sexy nomad Layne and voodoo in training Belladonna, can Kallie rescue her cousin and find away to circumvent the disaster she has created before she loses everyone and everything that matters to her.
Black Heart Loa picks up right where Black Dust Mambo left off. In here, the storyline takes a decidedly different route in that the villain(s) here are not flesh and blood but magical entities and consequences of using one’s power. It takes a little while to become comfortable with the flow and ebb of this particular storyline, but once we settle in, the ride is fast and furious as Kallie is not only fighting for her life but the life of her cousin.
This series has captivated me from day one. Unique world building-who doesn’t love the sexy and vibrant cajun side of NOLA-combined with engaging, humorous characters and intriguing plots makes for an intoxicating read. I was in tears reading about Ms. Phoenix’s judgmental chicken. I’m almost positive he is modeled after my Crazy Bob. I’m going to pretend he is regardless.
What I truly enjoy about this series is the closeness of family and the innate strength of the women in here. No man vs woman in here. The men and woman of this series respect each other and the powers they hold. I love the dynamics that flow between Kallie, her best friend Belladonna and Kallie’s aunt Divinity. While the sarcasm and snark flow freely through here, none of it is mean or cruel. The characters wear it well and it shows in the easy going bantering dialogue between them. Like this conversation between Kallie and Belladonna:
[Kallie] “So ….. if you could eat that slice of cake off anyone’s six-pack abs, who would it be?”
“Oooo. I like this game.” Her gaze shifted, caresses Layne’s stretched-out length. “Anyone?”
“Yup. Anyone but Layne.”
“If anyone is eating cake off his goddamned abs, it’s gonna be me.”
“I’ll be sure and tell him that. I’m betting it’ll please him to no end”
“You do and i’ll-”
“If you’re going to eat cake off my [Layne] goddamned abs, I’d prefer red velvet”
There are actually two storylines that run side by side intertwining occasionally as we travel deeper into the magic and legends of the swamps. Jackson, Kallie’s cousin, plays a major role in here. We are given more background into his complicated childhood and job description and Ms. Phoenix does a fabulous job of using that storyline to introduce some new and very interesting characters to the series. Hello Devlin Daniels! I am looking forward to getting to know him much, much better. *wink-wink* Kallie and Layne further their association and we see infinite possibilities about where their romance could go. I like the easy yet steamy hot chemistry between these two. It feels so natural and I like the distinctive lack of emo posturing. While this is an important part of the arc, it doesn’t overwhelm or take over. It flows nicely along side the main conflict and is used to elevate the storyline to a pretty fantastical level. RAWR!
I would have enjoyed hearing a bit more about Kallie’s mom as to the whys of what she did and perhaps had some interaction with her. Hopefully this storyline will be further explored in book three.
The ending is climatic and exciting, bringing closure to the story lines while allowing enough open ends to carry us into the third book in this seres- title to be announced. All in all, Ms. Phoenix’s Hoodoo series is a dark urban fantasy readers dream come true and I can’t recommend it enough. I do recommend you start with the first in the series, Black Dust Mambo, as this is not a stand alone.
Overall Rating: B