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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Black Dust Mambo - Adrian Phoenix (Note: Gotta preface by saying that despite the rating, I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading this book. I actually think many folk, especially my GR peeps, would like it.)Well. Knock me over with a feather. I thought I'd really like this one. But there goes that.This book starts off with a bang (no pun intended, though that works as well). It details the morning following a wild one-night stand for hoodoo apprentice ("root worker") Kallie Riviere. The reader is introduced to a scene with rumpled sheets, kinky memories, a nasty hangover....and a dead body. Namely, that of Kallie's lover. Not long after this discovery the story shoots off into investigation (both official and informal) of the "whos" and "whys" surrounding the death, and involves numerous character perspectives.The first half of the book covers a roughly two-hour period of time, and just about the whole tale takes place on the hotel grounds where the murder has taken place. Kallie immediately finds herself visited by the deceased man's best-friend Layne (who instantly becomes her love interest), Kallie's own best friend Belladona (my fave character!), another friend named Dallas, some hotel staff and officials from a magic association that governs all mystical folk. This means lots of dialogue, lots of character posturing and the like. It's kind of got a "Clue"-type vibe, in that sense. It requires patience, that's for sure. ^_^Now, one issue I had stemmed from the aforementioned multiple perspectives. I'm in fact usually a fan of tales that involve narration by many people, especially when the use of such a device increases the tension or deepens the reading experience. But amongst the ten different perspectives here, I just found obfuscation, (occasional) uninteresting introspection, and lack of connection with the characters.As for the characters themselves...I can't say I connected much (save to the fiesty Belladona). The antagonists were just silly, no other way I can put it. They came off as several notches short of...anything really: intimidating, intriguing, tragic, exciting, maddening, sympathetic, etc. I imagine that inspiring such emotions was the goal, but I just didn't feel any of it. :o(This is a flashback-heavy book. Which isn't inherently a bad thing. It's just that it feels like half of the book is spent in flashbacks referencing the other half! ^_^ The number of times whole sections of dialogue and action were repeated word-for-word...well. It just got old fast; I'd frequently be thinking along the lines of "okay I remember already! That was said like one page ago, I remember!") ^_^ There were numerous dreams and visions, as well, though those didn't rankle as much.Okay. I'm going to cut the "didn't likes" off here, because this is getting long. ^_^ But trust, there were more.One thing I really dug was the atmosphere. In fact, it's part of why I love books set in Louisiana (especially bayou country). The physical settings are hot and humid, the behaviors of the people are steeped in magic and mystery, and the history of the lands are rich, full of folklore and old wives tales. The author obviously researched her butt off for the Hoodoo books, because she captures the Looziana flavor admirably.I also found it interesting how a lot of the characters motivations were influenced by past loss. A parent, a friend, a sibling, a lover... each loss seems to affect the respective loved one in a vastly different way. It made for some compelling character comparisons.I'm not gonna lie. There were a few truly enjoyable scenes (one in particular involved a wet-boxers contest, and had me laughing out loud! ^_^) So there were some good moments. But overall the book just felt weighed down to me. And yet, I actually wouldn't completely discount reading the second book. If nothing else, I'd like to see if some of the fairly-promising-plot-threads-that-ultimately-lead-nowhere are in fact meant to be picked up at a later time.