cover image The Quarter Storm

The Quarter Storm

Veronica G. Henry. 47North, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3391-6

Mambo Reina Dumond investigates a murder pinned on a fellow vodouisant in this fresh, entertaining urban fantasy from Henry (Bacchanal). Henry vividly renders New Orleans’s French Quarter and Tremé communities and details the religious and ritual aspects of vodou as Haitian American Reina finds herself connected to the grisly murder through a recent client. Despite the ritualistic elements surrounding the crime, Reina knows that no upstanding vodou practitioner would commit murder and takes it upon herself to find the real killer and defend her religion. Using her skills at reading people and the water magic gifted to her by her patron goddess, Erzulie, Reina follows clues that lead her ever deeper into New Orleans’s underbelly. In the process, she runs afoul of her detective ex-boyfriend—a man so hateful it’s hard to know what she saw in him—as well as the leader of the local vodouisant community. Henry maintains an expert balance between the supernatural and real vodou beliefs, but there’s less depth to the mystery than the magic, leading to an underwhelming, albeit reasonably convincing, resolution. Still, as urban fantasy detective stories go, this hits the sweet spot of eschewing overdone tropes while retaining the familiar elements that draw fans to the genre. Readers will hope to see more of Mambo Reina. Agent: Mary C. Moore, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Feb.)