cover image This Wicked Game

This Wicked Game

Michelle Zink. Dial, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3774-7

Voodoo New Orleans is the real star of Zink’s (A Temptation of Angels) would-be thriller—a somewhat Disneyfied New Orleans without Katrina, crime, or poverty, but lush with gardens, formal balls, and ancient guilds, of which Claire Kincaid is part. She’s a descendant of the infamous Marie Leveau, but Claire thinks voodoo is a scam. She hates working in her family business, purveying voodoo paraphernalia (ordered through wholesale supply for a select clientele), and can’t wait to turn 18 and get to college. It’s hard to connect with Claire—she has no serious enemies, her boyfriend is gorgeous and attentive, and her biggest issue seems to be hiding their relationship, which she thinks is necessary because... well, just because. It’s almost a relief when sinister stalkers show up, with nefarious intent not only toward Claire but her whole generation of Guild inheritors. The plot is slow to gather momentum, and readers may secretly hope Xander dumps his voodoo princess for a more appreciative girl, but at least there’s New Orleans. Ages 12–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Nov.)