Review: Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo

Let me introduce you to the first Zora Banks novel, Bad Mojo.

Bad Mojo is a roller coaster through the Chattanooga underbelly. It’s told from the perspective of Ash Owens, a were-creature who works with hoodoo witch doctor Zora Banks to keep balance and peace in their beloved Nooga. We learn about Zora from Ash, the antihero. Where Zora is ethical, strong of faith, and true to her word, Ash is emotionally ugly, unclean, and amoral in the most delicious ways, answering only to Zora due to her ability to keep his own inner monster in check.

Berryhill brings us two seemingly parallel story lines that end up being one and the same. We get a twisted new vampire, were creatures, hoodoos, politicians, drag queens, trolls, zombies, the Fae, drugs and sex, all both honest and crooked in equal measure. The vampires are called vipers in Berryhill’s Nooga, an interesting twist on the bloodsucker leaning more toward snakes than bats. And we can hear the Southern speech of Ash Owens without the weird spelling that bogs down dialect. This look at Nooga shows humans and spooks with all their associated customs blending into a normal society for those aware of both sides. Almost like being a spook is a form of socially acceptable mental illness.

In the same vein as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Berryhill gives us an antihero that tries his best, gets the hell beaten out of him at every opportunity and still gets back into the fight. Owens will do anything to accomplish what needs done; only being penitent to the exotic Zora Banks whom he secretly loves. Bad Mojo is a delicious read, both provocative and repulsive, giving the reader vicarious access to their own inner demons.

You can find Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo at Ragnarok Publications and at Amazon.

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