Voodoo Dues (Lian and Figg) - Stephany Simmons

Cleaning up some magic symbols in front of a bar, while muttering to himself - and the arguement gets more heated with every word - is certainly a bar owner´s daily job. But only when one deals with voodoo ceremonies, werewolves, witches and of course... zombies.


Dr. Lian Cairn isn´t the typical bar owner, rather an well-respected antrophologist who seeks refuge in his bar, and home, to study century old texts and folk tales. Customers are rare, and those who frequent it are the odd nutjobs. This changes when the local voodoo queen is asking for Cairn´s help.


An unknown bonkor is raising the dead in Dallas.


Cairn is a bit of an enigma with some rather out of place experiences in his past, clearly devoted to academia with his expensive three piece suit and books about everything occult, while his bartender/assistant Eleanor Figg is the no-nonsense free spirit and gun carrying feisty chick with a shoe fetish.


The POV switches between the chapters from Lian to Figg (Eleanor) work extremely well. They are fluent, still distinguishable from each other and it doesn´t need more than a sentence or two to know who is speaking. The first person narrative might be an unusual choice here, but it certainly does the trick well enough to move fast forward straight into the action.


The secondary characters are presented in the third person and even not everyone is really remarkable, two of them, or rather three, are for sure: the necromancer Carl and his spirit guide Boyd - who drive each other crazy - and the police detective Childs. Just nobody and nothing is really fully developed, and raises more questions than answers are given.


Also too many things are certainly very convenient. A chain cutter in the boot of the car when one wants to get into a locked cemetary in the middle of the night is for sure something everyone carries around just like that. There are a bit too many similar scenes which are just an easy way out, a short cut too many not to raise an eyebrow or two at times.


My only beef I have is with all the missing details. One hardly experiences those so called action scenes, and there are many. It goes permanently wham wham wham and while it´s fun and often hilarious to read the bantering between Lian and Eleanor and how they stumble their way through the narrative, it is also annoying to be told what is happening. Mayhem caused at a voodoo ceremony? Oh, it was zombies.


Going into details is not exactly the strongest point of Stephany Simmons. The book is simply lacking in development, a story reduced to the bare bones and minimalist in its approach. One is permanently dropped into some real weirdness going on without any real explanation of the why.


Of course first of all one needs to shake of the disbelief about zombies, witches, fairies or werewolves to enjoy the novel. If one can do that it is a light and fast paced read, helluva fun and very entertaining. The strongest point of Voodoo Dues is that neither the novel itself nor the characters take themselves all too seriously. Firmly based in the urban fantasy genre it has some hints of romance and mystery, and it reads more like a satire of a typical PI novel. Just with paranormal creatures.


The ending however is just that. The novel simply ...ends. It is unsatisfactory and disappointing as it is, and screams pretty much sequel. A more tied up ending wouldn´t have hurt after everything that happened.