What’s that you said? Voodoo? Rural Louisiana? Murder mystery? Vengeful ghosts? Count me in!
THE PLOT: Mala LaCroix is the 20-year-old daughter of a prostitute, possibly also the latest in a long line of witches that include her slave ancestors. Mala has been branded as trash her whole life thanks to her mother, but she wants to make something of herself…specifically as a member of law enforcement. But her life spirals out of control after she finds a dead body floating in the swamp and the girl’s ghost starts haunting her.
Landry Prince is the 21-year-old son of the local preacher. He’s a hard-drinking athlete who’s always had a crush on Mala, but never the courage to talk to her. When his sister is found dead, Landry isn’t sure if Mala’s really trying to help him find Lainey’s killer, or if she’s the murderer herself. And if’s she’s not, which of their friends or family was involved in her death? Will Mala and her mother survive the witch hunt? What does Lainey’s ghost really want?
MY TWO CENTS: I could not stop reading this book. The point of view trades off between Mala and Landry, written in present tense. Again, “New Adult” is not the genre/age group for me, and yet I rarely felt like I was reading anything other than a regular supernatural fiction novel. There wasn’t TOO much romance, but I did feel the love scenes were a weak spot. The only time I felt the plot slow down to an uncomfortable pace was during Mala and Landry’s biggest love scene.
Also, I appreciate that Mala is a strong, independent female, but I did feel like she spent a little too much time hurt or being “rescued.” Maybe making her vulnerable is supposed to make Mala sympathetic to the reader, but I was on her side from the start. Maybe it was just a starting point to show her gradual growth in the sequels as she gets stronger.
I don’t know WHAT to make of Landry. I don’t love him, but I think there’s still mystery to be unraveled in future books. The supporting cast were all interesting and diverse. The setting felt very authentic to me. It was only Mala and Landry’s relationship that seemed shaky, and that may be the author’s intent.
BOTTOM LINE: Enjoyed this book greatly and looking forward to its sequels, Dark Sacrifice and Dark Redemption, available later this year.
TEACUP RATING: Not a 5-cup book, but awfully close. Let’s say 4½ out of 5 teacups, with some beignets on the side.
ON SALE DATE: Dark Paradise will be available in paperback and eformats on July 1, 2014.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.