4 out of 4 stars
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In 2013, a HuffPost/YouGov poll determined that 45% of Americans believe in ghosts. As such, people like Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, paranormal investigators who starred on Ghost Hunters, thrive and enjoy popularity. In Deirdre Hutchins' book, Voodoo in Savannah, Paranormal Investigators League (P.I.L.) members Duncan, Duane, Paige, and Nelson aren’t as concerned about fame as they are about helping Karen, who's convinced her home is haunted.
We meet Karen about six weeks after she has moved into a home that she plans to restore. She hasn't accomplished as much as she would have liked due to strange and scary noises in the home, noises she cannot chalk up to the wind or the house settling. After catching a glimpse of an ethereal figure in a bedroom mirror, Karen leaves the house in a panic and refuses to re-enter until the house is cleared. This is where the P.I.L. comes in.
Duncan, the head of the group, is used to having to tell clients that what they're experiencing are only electromagnetic fields (EMF) or something of that nature, as true paranormal activity is rare. So when he meets Karen, he and his crew first look for ways to explain what she's experiencing. When it becomes clear that it's not just EMF, he and the crew excitedly assist their client.
Even though Voodoo in Savannah didn't introduce any external conflicts, I felt that the investigation carried the story along quite nicely. I'm not easily frightened, so I was never scared, but I did spend the majority of my reading time on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. Even though I don't scare easy, I have been in houses that make a lot of noise, so I was easily able to commiserate with the characters when that happened. I also liked the few twists and turns involved in the story; they upped the ante and increased my interest tenfold.
I thought Karen was written well in her role as the frightened and naive, yet determined, owner of the haunted house. The P.I.L. members were all wonderful in their roles, as well, but I kind of missed having at least one "bad guy" - aside from the incorporeal entities - just to throw a little extra pepper in the sauce. Aside from Duncan, who did a great job calming his clients' nerves, my favorite character was Brazil, a Voodoo priestess and shopkeep who gave the team some insight. I'd love to read a story with her as the protagonist. I'd also like to know more about Duane and Nelson.
As outstanding as Voodoo in Savannah was storywise, I do have to mention the abnormal use of punctuation in the tome. While many of the missing commas I noted weren't "wrong," per se, their lack did throw me off my reading somewhat, so I would suggest a light editing to make the sentences clearer. There was also one errant apostrophe, one missing hyphen, and one instance of abnormal period usage. After thinking about it at length, I decided to award this tome 4 out of 4 stars, as the creative use of punctuation did not warrant the removal of a whole star, and I couldn’t go with 3.5.
I'm very proud to recommend this book to readers who enjoy haunted house stories and/or tales involving black magic. People who think their house may be haunted may find the read educational as well. However, even though the scares aren't that high level, I'd still caution those who are easily frightened against reading the tale.
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Voodoo in Savannah
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