Monday, October 29, 2012

Dollar Bin Horror Spotlight - Bad Juju

A Haitian bokor mentors two teens in the dark arts. Their spells backfire.
Lucien Nazaire flees his Haitian homeland and meanders around the United States for decades. He settles in a Wisconsin trailer park filled with elderly tenants. He meets Jake and hires him for odd household jobs. As their relationship progresses, Lucien invites the boy into the world of Voodoo.
Jake LaRue lives in foster care with his abusive uncle. The Voodoo lessons give him a sense of power within an otherwise helpless situation. Despite his loner status, he instantly connects with Henry, his only friend in high school.
Henry Novak has Asperger’s Syndrome. He fixates on historical events, most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Like Jake, he becomes passionate about the dark side of Voodoo. They learn how to cast spells on those they hate and lust, leading up to dire consequences.
Months after the Haitian earthquake, Henry convinces his family to volunteer for the island's reconstruction. Their mission turns into a nightmare when he mysteriously walks off of the campsite.
Bad Juju is a balance of horror, romance, and literary fiction intended for adults and mature teens. The plot uses research involving the Voodoo religion.

Dina Rae's Bad Juju is an interesting mix of religion, the supernatural, and terror with a writing style all her own. The story revolves around a Haitian Voodoo Bokor named Lucien, whom fled to America, and his practice of Voodoo. He meets Jake, a young impressionable boy with a troubled family life, and begins to teach him about the arts. Jake bring his friend Henry, who has Asperger's Syndrome, along. The two boys begin to use the Voodoo they have learned irresponsibly to get revenge on others who have wronged them somehow. When Lucien learns of Henry's upcoming trip to Haiti, thanks to his VERY Christian parents going there on a mission, he tries to send a message to his family still in Haiti through Henry...only to have him disappear somewhere in the country. Dark forces are at work against them as they learn Voodoo it not to be toyed with (a main point of the book that I very much liked). Dina has done some good research on the Voodoo culture, although she does stretch it a little bit for the purposes of the story (or at least it seems to. I have read quite a bit about New Orleans Voodoo but not so much on Haitian Voodoo, so I cannot be sure how far it has been stretched...but I know it has been a least a little bit for the purposes of enhancing the tale and it works out well). The tale has a lot of twists and turns with periods of "quiet" reading in between to rest the reader up for the next big event, and I like that. And those events are very well done. They were filled with lot's of great action that kept me turning the page. The character development is a mixed bag though, with some being fleshed out with great care and others not being paid enough attention (Henry's family being the main characters I wished there was more work on. They got plenty of "book time", but they didn't feel as real as the others). One more note is that this is definitely an adult book. While not over done, there is some sex and violence that younger eyes should not be reading. All in all, Bad Juju is a very good read and deserves a little love. Go pick up a copy HERE and tell me what you think!

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