Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery #1) by Rochelle Staab
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin/Nov.1st 2011)
Source: From publisher for review
*A Mind for Murder Series
Clinical psychologist Liz Cooper doesn’t believe in ghosts. But when her best friend finds a tarot card tacked to her front door-and is then accused of murder-Liz will have to find a way to embrace the occult if she wants to outwit the real killer…
When Liz Cooper’s childhood friend, Robin, begins finding tarot cards with menacing messages tacked to her door, she doesn’t know what to think. What she does know, as the cards, and the stakes, grow higher, is that she needs to find out just who is harassing her best friend. Her search for answers will put her in touch with Nick, an old friend and theology professor who sidelines in occult studies. They soon discover that Robin’s tormentor has voodoo leanings, but voodoo and the Tarot don’t mix, and after a visit to a palm reader and charlatan who may have the key to the Tarot deck used in the threats, things get even more confusing. Not only are the threats escalating, but Liz is fighting a growing attraction (and frustration) to Nick and a mother that hounds her at every turn. Add to that an ex-husband that just won’t give up and eventually murder, and Liz will have to use everything in her resources to get to the truth.
I really enjoyed this debut novel from former music industry exec Rochelle Staab! Liz is my kind of reluctant sleuth, and her wit and tenacity kept me turning the pages. Nick frustrated me at times with his dogged devotion to the letter of the law, but provided a perfect contrast to Liz, complementing her and at the same time keeping some nice sexual tension in play, and also proving that you certainly don’t have to be in your 20’s to romance and be romanced. Liz’s mom provided a quirky (if at times annoying), but always loving, presence, even if she does keep hounding Liz to get back with her sports superstar (and cheating) ex. The voodoo elements are fascinating, and the author obviously did her homework, treating the subject with respect and attention to detail. The added fun of L.A. as the backdrop created a constant sense of urgency and fun, and Ms. Staab obviously knows the ins and outs of her setting. I’ll admit, I’m a fairly jaded mystery reader, but this one kept me on my toes, and I didn’t really get an idea of whodunit until the end, and all the clues were definitely there. To me, that’s important. Red herrings are fine, as long as they aren’t scattershot, and as long as you can look back, once the killer is revealed, and say “Ohhh, yep, those clues were there (head smack for not seeing them:). Bravo to Ms. Staab for a sparkling, fun, and solid debut mystery!
**Purchase Who Do, Voodoo?**