Review of An Evil Shadow
Richard Askenase – Boston – August 15, 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/action thriller set in New Orleans (always a treat to read a book set in this fascinating city). Val Bosanquet, the main character, is a former police officer (detective?) from NO, who retired after capturing a young girl, Marie Duval, who killed her own mother while defending herself from her mother’s voodoo torture/ceremonies. She was only 9 at the time. Although convicted of the crime, the extenuating circumstance allowed her to obtain mental and other rehab. Now, ten years later, with the help of a Haitian charitable organization, she will enroll as a freshman at New Orleans University- which will be controversial due to her violent past. The school hires Val to be the new chief of campus police, believing that his past involvement with her will help diffuse the problems.
Val, still shadowed emotionally by that old case, agrees. As he does so, he begins to learn new facts about that old crime, leading to investigate the Haitian charity, a famous athletic goods manufacturer, and old “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s (of Haiti) followers and enemies in a series of new corruptions, some related to that old crime.
With many twists and turns, a heavy dose of the Haitian community, voodoo, and the bayou areas around the city, the story rapidly moves forward to a series of well built climaxes. In short, this is a fine mystery, with well defined characters, good action, and a satisfying conclusion. I will read more of his books, and encourage others to do so.