WILD MAN’S CURSE
(Wilds of the Bayou, Book 1)
by Susannah Sandlin
Narrated by: Elizabeth Godley
Paperback/digital: 284 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance (April 5, 2016)
Audiobook Unabridged Listening Length: 9 hours and 45 minutes
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audiobook provided by author for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The bones said death was comin’, and the bones never lied.
While on an early morning patrol in the swamps of Whiskey Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and makes a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered.
With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate? Or will an old family curse finally have its way?
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the first book in the Wilds of the Bayou series.
I really enjoy the natural feeling of Susannah’s writing, both as Susannah and her alter ego, Suzanne Johnson. Her novels are well constructed with tight plots and great continuity. If Susannah leaves a loose end, it is meant to be there.
She also offers a real sense of place, time and community. Not so much like a small town; everyone one in each other’s kitchen all the time with the comfort of “like family status.” It’s more a traditional way of politesse, how one treats guests and and how a guest behaves; how an acquaintance becomes a friend or lover. That sense of belonging, of becoming family takes time, and there is still, at least in this particular bayou house, a sense of etiquette.
Susannah’s books are more thriller, suspense with a bit of horror than Suzanne’s. To some extent the truly horrific parts are off-stage. But, there are some scenes of violence that I didn’t feel would end well, for at least one person in the room.
This story goes beyond the sense of belonging and dives right into family history and ties a great big bow that only carefully constructed work can have. It dives into that sense of going home and finding it was not the same place you left, or maybe you are not the person you were. It’s knowing that you have a place and a history. Even if you didn’t know you had that.
Speaking of what you don’t know, the plot involves the passing down of a curse. It is not clear to me whether the curse is actually paranormal in nature or whether greed, by itself, is the curse. Of course no story in the bayou is without some paranormal aspect – hence the voodoo priestess throws the bones, and heeds their message. This part of bayou life is important as it speaks to the mixture of religions, races and ethnicities one probably only finds in Louisiana. Then there’s the question of whether Gentry’s brother is a ghost, a demon, or just someone who didn’t die when everyone thought he had.
Susannah’s understanding of and research into the world of fish and game law enforcement, is impressive and offered a glimpse of the difficulties of that job. It gave me a sense of new respect for the men and women in that field.
The narrator does a great job with the accents and gives Celestine exactly the right voice and accent; imbuing it with just-out-of bed, sexy languor, and a bit of sass. She doesn’t over do the men’s voices either. Her narration is a little choppy, but somehow it felt natural, as if her voice were the voice narrating the story in my head as I read it.
I really enjoyed this book; after the tense parts, I was left with good feelings about the characters and their paths. I am looking forward to the next book!
Susannah will be here on Wednesday, April 6 where she discusses choosing the narrator for this book, and she is offering a giveaway! So come by Wednesday to enter!
Up for pre-order at these links. (Note: digital book is only available via Amazon and its affiliates. Print and audio via all e-tailers.)
AMAZON (MONTLAKE ROMANCE): http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Mans-Curse-Wilds-Bayou/dp/1503934748/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451529546&sr=1-1&keywords=WILD+MAN%27S+CURSE
AUDIO PUBLISHER BRILLIANCE AUDIO: https://www.brillianceaudio.com/product?i=17972