Psychologist Liz Cooper isn’t a big believer in the unseen: ghosts, God, the occult. But when her friend Robin finds tarot cards tacked to her door — and is subsequently accused of murder — Liz must dive into the world of mysticism in order to clear her friend’s name. Along for the ride is old family friend Nick Garfield, a professor and expert on the occult. Together the two attend séances, discuss traditional vodou, and try to root out the murderer before Robin takes the fall.
Spooky and fun
The first book in Rochelle Staab’s A Mind for Murder series introduces us to Liz Cooper, a psychologist whose fact-based belief system is turned upside down by the sudden intrusion of the occult.
The main plot itself is pretty straightforward — people are dying, we need to find the killer — but the inclusion of voodoo and its history and traditions is really what takes the novel up a notch.
Who Do, Voodoo? begins rather abruptly. Staab had to fit a lot of information critical to the story in right at the beginning — Robin’s husband’s death, Liz’s husband’s infidelity and her apparent total inability to find a good replacement, and the first threatening tarot card — and her execution was a little clunky.
Fortunately the rest of the novel flows well, with just the right amounts of spookiness and mystery and romance.
One thing I appreciated was that Staab doesn’t treat vodou as an inherently evil thing. Although it’s clear from the beginning that the bad guy is someone who “serves the spirits,” the majority of the practitioners are kind, normal, patently non-evil people. She doesn’t treat vodou as a sensationalist tactic, but rather as a legitimate practice and part of the story.
Who Do, Voodoo? is not the best mystery novel I’ve ever read, but it’s a strong beginning to what I hope shapes up to be a good series.