Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Review - Bruja Brouhaha


Bruja Brouhaha: A Mind for Murder Mystery

By: Rochelle Staab
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0425251492
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: Octoer 25, 2012

A Saturday night fortune-telling game was in the cards for everyone at the Rojases’ house. Liz Cooper looked askance at what she deemed to be no more than a simple parlor trick, but everyone, including her boyfriend, Nick Garfield, an occult professor, took the coconut ritual very seriously. Lucia was a Santeria priestess and, with her husband Paco, owned Botanica Rojas. Drs. Carment Perez and Victor Morales, business partners at the Park Clinic, watched along with everyone else as Liz tossed the four pieces of the coconut shell. Eyebrows were raised and an aura of discomfort crept through the room. “You rolled Oyekun, Death.” Nonsense. Nick had to be joking, or was he?

Westlake’s Park Clinic was host to Liz’s down-to-earth Saturday Wellness therapy sessions. Not unlike everywhere else, women had stressors in their lives and needed help. The neighborhood also was host to gangs and prostitutes, an unremitting problem that had an impact on the Clinic. Parlor tricks seemed a bit frivolous in comparison, but what happened next would throw everyone into a frenzy. Shots rang out just outside the Rojases’ and a drive-by took out José Saldivar and Paco, who had gone down to the street level. Teresa Suarez stood next to the bodies, but just who the target was remained to be seen. Okekun, Death ... it had begun.

Shock echoed throughout the room, the neighborhood. Paco Rojas was much beloved, but there were those who marked his name in red on their enemy list. But who wanted to assassinate an old man? Perhaps he was a simple bystander who got in the way. Santeria was the way and someone would have to pay because the code of silence would not reveal the killer. Lucia’s fragility was obvious, but Detective Bailey would eventually have to interview her. Liz Cooper was shocked when Lucia thought the wake was an anniversary party, but a sudden turn of events became ominous when Lucia put a brujería on the neighborhood to exact her revenge. But would she live to see it?

This is a stellar supernatural cozy mystery series that will garner many fans. What surprised me the most was not the fact that I found a well-crafted plot, but rather the cultural information about seemingly opposing belief systems, Santeria and Catholicism. The mystery wasn’t one that kept me on edge, but rather piqued my interest with an increasingly intriguing and complicated puzzling plot. There were many Hansel and Gretel-type tidbits that were somehow connected, but how? Murder, drugs, an unexpected disappearance, a hex, the Oyekum Death were, to say the least, muy interesante. If you want to meet a fabulously spooky barrio brujería, you won’t be disappointed!

Quill says: This superbly crafted paranormal cozy mystery will keep readers on the edge of their seats ... waiting for the next installment!