Voodoo Dues (Lian & Figg #1) by Stephany Simmons
July 29, 2011
Reviewed by Tori
Stephany Simmons’s Voodoo Dues is a short novella that starts with a bang and speeds along at a fast pace until the very last page. Figg is a laid back, no nonsense bartender who enjoys life, not taking much seriously. Her straight laced boss, Lian, is an enigma to her as he doesn’t seem to encourage customers or business. When a local voodoo queen comes to him for help, Lian turns her away only to find her grandson murdered outside his bar the next day. Soon Figg finds herself embroiled in an honest to god mystery with werewolves, necromancers, and zombies. Figg realizes that nothing and nobody is as it seems and Lian has a lot of explaining to do.
While I enjoyed the premise and basic story plot, I found parts to be choppy and lacking overall in development. It’s as though we got the bare bones of the story without the little nuances that are used to round it out. We are dropped right into the action without any lead in or set up. It felt as though I was reading an established series without any background knowledge.
Ms. Simmons’ interesting approach in having our protagonists switch between narrating chapters is also unsettling. While it is unique, it throws off the pace of the story and makes it hard to get to know either character.
On the other hand, our protagonists are well matched; a free spirited woman and a nerdy quiet man. I enjoyed their interactions though the alternating POVs took away from that. The secondary characters were more developed and as they are presented in the third person; seem more stable. My favorite character has to be Carl and his spirit guide. Plenty of humor makes for some witty, outrageous scenes. Not a huge zombie fan, I enjoyed the effort Ms. Simmons puts in to give a realistic feel to the whole situation. The ending left me unsatisfied. It ends abruptly with with some wonderful fan fare but no closure. We merely stop.
I think that Ms. Simmons’s Voodue Dues has the makings to what can be a great series with some more editing and development to the cast and world that she has invented.