Big thanks to VOYA (one of my favorites) for the starred review of THIS WICKED GAME;
4Q 5P M J S
Zink, Michelle. This Wicked Game. Dial/Penguin, 2013. 368p. $17.99. 978-0-8037-3774-7.
Even though Claire Kincaid is a descendent of the notorious New Orleans voodoo queen Marie Laveau, she has no real interest in practicing the craft. Yet when strangers begin requesting ingredients known for their sinister properties from her parent’s voodoo shop, Claire becomes suspicious. With the help of other firstborns from eight historically powerful “Guild” families, Claire uncovers a plot that threatens to destroy them all.
Zink skillfully merges the mystique of old-world New Orleans with Claire’s present-day city—where a secretive network of families keeps the art of voodoo alive. This legendary setting provides a heavy tension and romance that is amplified by the secretive relationship between Claire and Alexandre Toussaint, another Guild firstborn. Claire loves Alex but insists on secrecy; she knows that Alex’s family will find her wanting since she does not practice the craft, something she avoids largely because she believes that, despite her lineage, she has no real inherent power. But when a group of rogue voodoo practitioners seeks to work the deadly “Cold Spell” and Guild elders refuse to take a stand, the torch must pass to Claire’s generation. Readers will root for the firstborns and for Claire as she discovers that she may be the key to saving the Guild, and they will relate to her feelings of inadequacy as she fights to garner enough self-confidence to overcome her doubts. Those who avoid historical works but are fans of paranormal mystery with some historical references, like Garcia and Stohl’s The Caster Chronicles, will enjoy Zink’s latest offering.—Erin E. Forson.