Genre: Magical Realism/Fantasy/Folk Tales
“When Police Chief Alton Gravely and Officer Carothers escalate the feud between ‘Torreya’s finest’ and conjure woman Eulalie Jenkins by running her off the road into a north Florida swamp, the borrowed pickup truck is salvaged but Eulalie is missing and presumed dead. Her cat Lena survives. Lena could provide an accurate account of the crime, but the county sheriff is unlikely to interview a pet.
Lena doesn’t think Eulalie is dead, but the conjure woman’s family and friends don’t believe her. Eulalie’s daughter Adelaide wants to stir things up, and the church deacon wants everyone to stay out of sight. There’s talk of an eyewitness, but either Adelaide made that up to worry the police, or the witness is too scared to come forward.
When the feared Black Robes of the Klan attack the first responder who believes the wreck might have been staged, Lena is the only one who can help him try to fight them off. After that, all hope seems lost, because if Eulalie is alive and finds her way back to Torreya, there are plenty of people waiting to kill her and make sure she stays dead.”
Malcolm R. Campbell lives in north Georgia and has worked as a corporate communications director, technical writer, and college journalism instructor. He now works as a grant writer for museums and other nonprofit organizations.
“Campbell's fantasy novels were inspired by his work in Glacier National Park, an aircraft carrier cruise, and time spent in Florida's swamps. His paranormal ghost stories were inspired (of course) by his experiences with things that go bump in the night.”
I have been looking forward to this book. At the end of Eulalie and Washerwoman Eulalie was leaving to fetch Willie back home. They’ve had a long-standing relationship and Eulalie was ready to take it to the next level. Being a romantic at heart I was ready for this relationship to move forward. So, what does Mr. Campbell do? He puts Eulalie in peril! Which in turn kept me reading late into the night.
Thank goodness Lena survived the wreck into the swamp, but Eulalie is missing and feared dead. Fortunately Eulalie’s daughter Adelaide has some of her mama’s conjure ability. However, she is a little too head-strong and undisciplined. Pollyanna, is a new character with a lot of spit-fire and potential. I really liked her and can’t wait to see more of her. And I really want to know who her father is.
The plot twists really shouldn’t surprise me. The town of Torreya is full of high-positioned men who secretly belong to the KKK. They are cruel, evil, and easy to hate. Towards the end of the book Joe Moore, the local raccoon, scared the bejeezus out of me with his prophesy to Lena about the coming day. After my heart started beating again, and the tense cluster... uhhh... a mess of a climax. I was completely satisfied and it left me with a smile on my face.
My favorite sentence in this story:
“Like a conjure woman, the good Lord does his work with the materials at hand,”
Lena is the third book in Mr. Campbell’s Florida Folk Magic Stories. Following Conjure Woman’s Cat, and Eulalie and Washerwoman. Please be aware the language is not always politically correct, however it is true to the era.
A small number of proofing errors, nothing that threw me out of the story.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words