If you like your supernatural thrillers with a strong Southern ambience, then Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo might be just your glass of tea (sweet tea, of course).
Ash Owens (short for Ashley, but don’t you dare call him that) is a veteran who came home from the Middle East with a monster. Literally. He keeps it in check with help from a conjure woman named Zora Banks. They now work together, solving problems for the residents of Chattanooga. Of course most of their clients are from the supernatural community, which lends their cases an added element of risk.
Ash is approached by a Senator of his acquaintance to help find the missing wife of a Congressman who is running for governor. She’s disappeared into the supernatural community and is hooked on drugs. Oh, and if Ash can find the missing woman’s diary, well then, all the better.
You can see where this is going to go. Of course it isn’t going to be that simple…
Ash is a deeply flawed character, and as the book’s narrator, we get a deep look inside his psyche. It’s not always a pleasant place. But it’s a compelling place.
Berryhill has a great affection for this kind of book. It shows in his writing. It also shows in the little touches he adds, such as references to other writers working in the Southern Gothic tradition, like Cheri Priest and Joe Lansdale. In fact, a couple of Lansdale’s characters have a cameo.
The investigation Ash and eventually Zora undertake is one fraught with peril. They won’t get through it unscathed.
Bad Mojo is a fast-paced supernatural thriller, and it shows every sign of being the initial book in a series.
I do need to give you a warning. If you’re easily offended or squeamish, this might not be the book for you. Bad Mojo contains a great deal of explicit content, including violence, sex, and especially language. It’s not for the faint-hearted and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re up for it, it’s a fast-paced, exciting ride into a dark world. Perfect if you’re in the mood for a high-octane read for the Halloween season.
I’d like to thank Melanie Meadors of Ragnarok Publications for the review copy.