Bad Juju
Randy Chandler

Acid Grave Press
Digital Edition, 2012, 3.99
Review by Darkeva

Originally released by Walt Hicks of HellBound Books in 2003, Bad Juju would never, it seemed have the chance for a second print run until e-book publisher Acid Grave Press decided to re-release the book this year so that more readers could discover the macabre and enjoyable tale set in Vinewood, Georgia. No longer will readers have to be frustrated with the formerly limited availability of the book.

Acid Grave has been making a great name for themselves in the horror community since they emerged on the scene, and Bad Juju is a great fit for their list. The book starts off with Skeeter, the main character, who is on a hunt with his friend, Joe Rob. The objective is to nail rats, of which there’s a plague in town. On their hunt, they bump into Odell Porch, a mojo man who is nothing but trouble from the minute he shows up. The first thing that I distinctly noticed about this book was how unique the narrative tone is, as well as the voices and dialogue of the characters, which are quite distinct. It’s important in a novel like this in which there’s a regional dialect at play that more than one character employs, and author Chandler handles it very well.

All three men see a woman in the woods. She’s scared and running away from “the dark thing,” which, as it turns out, wants nothing more than to devour the whole town of Vinewood. Odell insists that the men leave her to him and Joe Rob knows nothing good can come of this. Against his better judgment, and enacting the credo of “no good deed goes unpunished,” the girl starts reciting an incantation, and a killing later, it all goes downhill from there.

We then meet Luke, an ex-cop, who is in town for a funeral, and while it’s important to get a glimpse of him, we switch back to Joe Rob, whose life is really going down the toilet. He gets fired from his job, he starts having urges to hurt people and acts out on them, he starts doing things he would normally never do, but things really start to get interesting when the Porches notice Odell’s absence and that’s when things really kick into gear even more. Odell’s family, the Porches, are some of the most compelling, despicable, and nerve-wracking characters I’ve encountered.

The rest of the novel turns into a rollercoaster ride that takes the reader along sharp twists and turns, delves deeper into the plots with the “dark thing” from the beginning, and switches gears in terms of who becomes the real hero. It’s a fantastic read heavy on the action, magic, and suspense, and I highly recommend it.

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