The Voodoo Killings by Kristi CharishThe Voodoo Killings by Kristi CharishThe Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

Kincaid Strange is one of the two known remaining voodoo practitioners in Seattle. She’s had a hard time making end meet, ever since new laws went into effect restricting the raising of zombies. Permanent zombies ― called five-line zombies for the magical lines that anchor their four limbs and head to life ― are outlawed entirely; four-line temporary zombies (who are missing the magical line to the head) may be raised only under severely restricted circumstances. Temporary zombies are actually quite useful in resolving issues like murders and last will and testament disputes, but under the new laws that’s mostly forbidden as well.

Kincaid’s prior job as an independent consultant for the Seattle police department has ended as well; the new police chief is adamantly anti everything paranormal. So Kincaid gets by with the help of her roommate Nathan Cade, the ghost of a grunge rocker who still gives concerts when he’s in the mood, and who can down a surprising amount of beer. (Nate manages to run up quite the beer tab on Kincaid.)

Matters get more complicated when Kincaid gets a phone call from a brand new zombie, Cameron Wight, who was a local artist. Cameron has no memory of how he died or why he’s been raised as an illegal zombie ― an impossible mix between a four-line and five-line zombie. As Kincaid tries to help Cameron, her investigation of his situation seems to tie in to people ― and zombies ― who are starting to die (or die again) at some unknown murderer’s hand. Not to mention that there’s an extremely hostile and powerful ghost who’s beginning to haunt Kincaid, wanting something from her that she has no idea how to give him.

Lipstick Voodoo: The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two (Kincaid Strange Series, The 2) Kindle Edition by Kristi Charish

Book 2

The Voodoo Killings (2016) is an urban fantasy focused on zombies, but mixes in ghosts, ghouls and some other supernatural doings along with its murder mystery plot. In this world, zombies will stay intelligent and rational ― and will refrain from attacking and eating people ― as long as they get enough human brains in their diet … so there’s a black market in brains. It’s amusing, if a little gross, to see Kincaid trying to convince Cameron to drink his brains milkshake. Kristi Charish creates an entire underground (literally) city of zombies, hidden underneath Seattle. It’s an interesting concept, but I couldn’t help but wonder how they found enough human brains to feed the zombies there and keep them from going on a zombie rampage.

Charish’s writing style is straightforward, without any literary frills or pretensions, but some humor. Charish does have the habit of dropping odd facts into Kincaid’s narrative, like the fact that she has a ghost for a roommate, her rocky family history, or her issues with her ex-boyfriend Aaron, a Seattle homicide detective whose phone calls she’s assiduously avoiding, without much, if any, context. Much later on, the background information shows up in the narrative. I suppose it’s a way to avoid too much info-dumping early on, but I found it rather distracting.

The Voodoo Killings is a reasonably good urban fantasy, not quite up to Ilona Andrews’ standards of imagination and humor (not to mention romance, which is almost an afterthought in Voodoo Killings), but ― in my mind at least ― comparable to Faith Hunter’s JANE YELLOWROCK series. If you’re a Jane Yellowrock fan, I’d suggest giving Kincaid Strange a shot. The murder plot is resolved in the end, but there’s an unexpected twist in the final pages as a teaser for the second book in the KINCAID STRANGE series, the just-published Lipstick Voodoo. I found the world of Kincaid Strange engaging enough that I jumped right into Lipstick Voodoo when I was finished with this one.

Published in May 2016. Vintage Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish’s The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner… For starters, she’s only twenty-seven. Then there’s the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she’s broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker–who happens to be Kincaid’s on-again, off-again roommate.  Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he’s tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle’s infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City’s oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She’s broke, but she’s not stupid. And then she becomes the target… As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.


  • Tadiana Jones

    TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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