Release-Day Review: The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish (Kincaid Strange #1)


The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish // VBC ReviewThe Voodoo Killings (Kincaid Strange #1)
Kristi Charish
Published: May 10, 2016 (Vintage Canada)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Kincaid Strange is used to getting calls about ghosts and zombies, but one night she gets a call from a zombie that turns her world upside down. Cameron Wight was a famous artist, but he can’t remember how he died or who made him a zombie. Kincaid wants to help him, and keep him from hurting anyone, but she’ll be thrown in jail if they’re caught together.

Kincaid is a practitioner, trained to use Otherside, the energy of the dead. She used to work with the police department, summoning ghosts and zombies to help solve crimes, but the new police chief doesn’t believe in the paranormal. Changes in department policy and federal law have cost Kincaid both her job and her detective boyfriend. Now she does séances for college kids to pay her rent. (Fortunately, the ghost of Seattle’s favorite rock star is Kincaid’s roommate.)

Kincaid and Cameron visit the Underground City, the secret, paranormal section of the Seattle Underground, for help and discover that someone is killing zombies. Kincaid agrees to investigate, which requires some awkward conversations with her ex. She also has to deal with ghosts and ghouls and mean girls on her way to catching the murderer.

Kristi Charish blends traditional New Orleans voodoo with other mythologies from all over the world to create a unique magic system. The undead world is surprisingly complex, with zombies, ghouls, ghosts and many other creatures. And despite being dead those creatures are surprisingly human. I absolutely love this world where a zombie bartender mixes up brain cocktails and ghosts can drink beer.

The mystery plot is quite complex as well, as Kincaid goes from investigator to suspect to potential victim more than once. I figured it all out right before Kincaid did. She also gets help from an unexpected source, who’s a character I’m really looking forward to seeing more of.

I don’t think I’ve ever commented on a book’s design, other than the cover, in a review before, and I do love this cover, but I’m also loving the little snake that wiggles around in the corner when you flip the pages. It’s rare for me to read an actual paper book anymore, I really do prefer e-books, but the extra thought that went into designing The Voodoo Killings would be worth the additional time and expense.

The Voodoo Killings reminds me of iZombie in some ways (the show, since I haven’t read the comics). Both are set in Seattle and feature police procedural elements and, obviously, zombies. Charish’s world is much more complex with the addition of ghosts and ghouls, as well as the practitioners and their magic, but the tone is similar. I think fans of the show will smile just like I did when Cameron starts cooking his brains with his bacon and eggs.

I loved The Voodoo Killings! I devoured it in practically one sitting. (That may be the wrong word to use after I just mentioned eating brains for breakfast.) I’m really looking forward to more drink-making zombies, guitar-playing ghosts and crime-solving Kincaid Strange.

Sexual content: kissing, references to sex

8 Responses to “Release-Day Review: The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish (Kincaid Strange #1)”

  1. Amy M says:

    This one has been on my radar for a while now. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. It sounds like a really fresh take on the zombie story.

    • Margaret says:

      Mine too. I think I heard about it right after Owl and the Japanese Circus came out. Happy to report that it lived up to the expectations I built up over the last year.

  2. I’m reading this one right now and really enjoying it. It’s different from any other zombie book I’ve read. Can’t wait to get all the way through it!

    • Margaret says:

      Everyone focuses on the zombies, but the ghosts are just as big a part of the world. I think that including all kinds of dead/undead is what makes it different from other series that have either ghosts or zombies.

  3. Leona says:

    This book looks so good and it’s not just because of the cover, although that’s gorgeous. If I wasn’t swimming in books right now this’ll be my next read. Great review

  4. My expectations were pretty high for this one, and Kincaid & co. totally lived up to them! I really liked Lee Ling’s bar too – and of course a ghost would learn to play PlayStation, haha. Can’t wait for the sequel!

    • Margaret says:

      That was probably my favorite part. I hope the next one has even more of Lee and the Underground City.

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