« Review: Fractured Spirits | Main | Review: Cheeseland »
Saturday
Oct202012

Review: Bad Juju

Bad Juju, by Dina Rae is available in e-book format from Amazon

Reviewed by Ophelia Julien

All Good Fun Until the Zombie Shows Up

Earlier this year, I read and reviewed Dina Rae’s Halo of the Damned. Given that the subject matter of that book involved fallen angels, demons, and a blood-thirsty ancient cult, it seemed to be about the darkest story Ms. Rae could have to offer. I was wrong.

Bad Juju is the tale of what happens when the world of a handful of high school students and their families collides with that of an elderly Haitian bokor, or Voodoo priest, who has been incongruously displaced to a trailer park in Hayward, Wisconsin. The bokor, named Lucien Nazaire, knows he is coming to the end of his unnaturally long life and is looking for an heir to the dark wisdom he has amassed, for Lucien is a practitioner of the darkest form of Voodoo: grave robbing, dismemberment, shape-shifting, soul-stealing, zombie-making, everything malevolent that can be imagined.

Enter Jake La Rue and Henry Novak, two high school students who have formed an unlikely bond over Jake’s loner status and Henry’s Asperger Syndrome. Jake lives at the same trailer park as Lucien and has befriended a man he sees as a stately and gracious old gent from Haiti. Lucien is all that, but once Jake brings Henry to meet the bokor, the truth starts to be revealed.

The first thing Lucien teaches his eager students is how to make a voodoo doll, and it’s all downhill from there. Even the basic, hopeful love spells the boys perform bend to the dark side with unforeseen and fatal consequences that affect the boys and some of their classmates. By the time Henry travels to Haiti with his family for a post-earthquake mission trip, the road to hell is not only paved and plastered with the best of intentions, it has morphed into the steepest of slippery slopes.

Through all the dark and shadow in this story, Ms. Rae manages to interlace a bright thread of love and romance.

Ms. Rae clearly relishes gifting her readers with horrific scenarios, each successive image somehow just a wee bit worse than the previous one. But all is not gloom and doom. The light in this book comes from Jake’s sweet, earnest, somehow untainted spirit, and the love he holds for the woman who is married to his abusive uncle. Through all the dark and shadow in this story, Ms. Rae manages to interlace a bright thread of love and romance.

Fans of the dark-and-roses type of fiction will enjoy curling up with Bad JuJu...

Fans of the dark-and-roses type of fiction will enjoy curling up with Bad JuJu, from the opening crisis to the redemptive resolution as the story winds down. Or almost winds down. At the end, Ms. Rae abandons the roses to hand the reader one last slice of darkness to savor when the story has ended, which nicely illustrates the point of this genre: one final nightmare to take away when all is said and done. Enjoy!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Comments Not Allowed
If you have comments, please contact the author via the link supplied in the review.