Title: Lipstick Voodoo
Author: Kristi Charish
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Kincaid Strange # 2
Date of Publication: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Kincaid Strange is back in this dark and adventurous follow up to “The Voodoo Killings”.
Since this is the second in the series, there are spoilers for the first book in this review!
Voodoo practitioner Kincaid Strange is invited by her ex-boyfriend, a cop, to consult on a cold case that just might have been a paranormal murder. The case is connected to her roommate, Nathan Cade, the ghost of a 90s grunge rock star. Meanwhile, Kincaid must also navigate a new relationship with her new mentor, the ghost of a psychopath sorcerer who used nefarious means to coerce her into becoming his apprentice. Everyone has their secrets, but who can Kincaid trust?
This book is captivating from its very first page. I absolutely adore the detailed world that Charish has created. It’s similar to real-life Seattle, but very dark and swarming with ghosts, zombies, ghouls, and other mysterious creatures from the Otherside. The amount of detail that Charish has put into engineering this world is praiseworthy. As a health sciences librarian, I almost died from excitement when she mentioned “PubDead”, the paranormal version of PubMed. Let’s be friends, Kristi.
A major part of the world-building is the scientific way that Otherside works in this series. Discussions of binding ghosts and setting mirrors all have a very matter-of-fact tone, with detailed nuances. Some pages read like a paranormal textbook, but with a little more sass, since it’s all coming from Kincaid’s point of view.
There are several plot lines in this story that are seamlessly interwoven. I love how Charish blended effortlessly from one to the other, and they’re so interconnected it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. Excellent storytelling.
Side characters in this book are also well-developed. Gideon, the mysterious ghost of a sorcerer, is quite intriguing. This book gives us just enough information about his past to give us a better sense of who he is, but he’s still an enigma.
Since Nate is a ghost, he isn’t expected to grow as a person, which is something Kincaid comments on in the book. However, I noticed that he had a little development of his own, which I won’t reveal here, because it’s a spoiler!
I did find the character development for her love interest, ex-boyfriend Aaron, to be lacking. It seems like Kincaid makes a revelation about their relationship (or lack thereof) during the latter half of the book, but it isn’t quite addressed fully enough for my liking before the final pages. I suppose I’ll have to wait for the next book for this.
I recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in a dark fantasy with a badass female lead. It has a very detailed world, but it’s not presented in a monotonous way. It’s very similar in feel to Kim Harrison’s Hollows book series.
*Thank you to Vintage Canada and Netgalley for the ARC for review!*
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