Yellow Moon by Jewell Parker Rhoades

yellowmoon1Reviewed by Stephanie Nordkap

Yellow Moon is the second in a contemporary trilogy of Dr. Marie Laveau, a descendent of the famous and great Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. The first novel, Voodoo Season, blends the paranormal with the mystery as Marie moves to New Orleans and learns about her heritage. She discovers she has inherited many of Marie Laveau’s gifts, including the ability to heal, see ghosts, and a sense of foresight. Marie accepts her abilities and is happy being a mother, a doctor, and learning to practice her voodoo.

Yellow Moon begins when Detective Daniel Parks enters the ER at Charity Hospital where Dr. Leveau now works as a fully practicing MD, and asks her opinion on a recent murder case where it appears the victim has been drained of all his blood. Marie’s peaceful life is suddenly shattered and blood-drained corpses begin appearing all over the city. Before long, the spirits of the deceased – a wharf worker, a jazzman, a prostitute – appear to Marie and appeal to her for justice. Markings appearing on the corpses confuse police but propel Marie and Parks into action as they chase the creature around New Orleans. As Marie and Parks are forced to work together, despite the differences in their backgrounds and in their beliefs, they eventually come to understand and depend on one another.

When Marie learns that the blood-sucking creature is actually a wazimamoto, an African vampire, she realizes she needs to delve into her past and that of the original Marie Laveau, in order to find the solution to stopping the creature. To her shock, she discovers the vampire is a previous lover of Marie Leveau who understood his evilness and spurned him. John is now after vengeance and wants to destroy anything of Marie Laveau that exists, including her descendents. Through the use of an old painting, and the spirit of Marie Leveau, Marie eventually tracks down John’s gris-gris which must be destroyed. In order to do this, Marie must do a special ceremony that calls upon all of her special skills that could put herself and all of those involved in jeopardy.

Yellow Moon is seemingly written as a mystery/suspense/paranormal novel that focuses on the search to find John, an African vampire. The author also includes Marie’s relationship struggles as she deals with Reneaux death, her confidence with being perceived as a Voodoo priestess, her struggles over being a single mom, and her inner struggles with her heritage. Although I enjoyed reading Yellow Moon, I probably should have read Voodoo Season first as I found the novel a bit confusing at times as the author assumes things that were mentioned in the first novel.

The main plot centered around finding the wazimamoto and the action certainly flew during the scenes involving the vampire and the discoveries of the bodies. What I found distracting were some of the subplots. I found myself wondering where the author was going with some of these subplots as they did not always relate to the novel and actually slowed down the action. When things did happen, they happened quickly and explosively, and caught me off guard.

The novel combines health and healing, myths and superstitions, death and dying with differing religions. I enjoyed the philosophical discussions and especially enjoyed the descriptions about New Orleans. The reader learns a bit about the history of New Orleans, the decadence and the debauchery, and how it affected the people who lived there in the past as well as today.

I found this book to be very entertaining and interesting. While I would have liked to see more of John, the African vampire, in the novel, as a fan of historical and paranormal fiction, I loved the cultural and supernatural aspects to this novel. I am looking forward to the third novel in the trilogy.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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