My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pulp novels have a special place on my shelf, and with that comes expectations. When I pick one up I expect it to provide me with a break-neck narrative, some skull cracking, and a bigger-than-life hero that delivers lines of dialogue that would make an English Professor groan.
Doc Voodoo: Aces & Eights provides all that along with some pleasant surprises. Author Dale Lucas not only channels the spirit of the pulps with his highly visual and well-paced prose, but also shows that he is a man who is highly knowledgeable about his chosen setting and all that it encompasses.
The time is 1926. The where is Harlem. The hero: Doc Voodoo, a man who delivers street justice using a combination of fists, guns, and superpowers — thanks to an intimate relationship he maintains with several voodoo demigods. He’s not immortal, and he’s certainly not invincible, but he has the ability to handle danger that would be too much for a normal man.
There is a feeling of authenticity and love for the setting that comes pouring out of the book. It’s easy to fall into clichés when working with material such as this, but Lucas sidesteps them and presents a window to a time and place that is gone, but not so far in the rearview mirror that it can no longer be recognized. As a reader, I felt fully transported and in a way, privileged to experience something that I could not know without Doc Voodoo to guide me.
Aces & Eights is a grand adventure. Criminals, shady cops, gin joints, jazz, and the supernatural whirl about as we join our hero of the night in his quest to protect the innocent from a curse machine that could doom them all. It’s a race against the clock, but Lucas takes care to include considerable character development and a strong dose of history as we zip along.
The pulps were all about entertaining the reader. Doc Voodoo doesn’t disappoint. Dale Lucas gives us a solid piece of escapist fiction with flair. Solid, fun read.
Note: Although we have the same last name, I am not related to the author.