Book Review: Tropic of Night

Tropic of NightTitle: Tropic of Night

Author: Michael Gruber

Genre: Supernatural Horror Thriller

Read: Spring 2010

Summary: Very good.

I read this book both because it was represented by an agent I was interested in and because it loosely fit the ill-defined cross-genre of my own novel: Supernatural thriller with realistic style and magic. In fact, in this book it’s not even 100% clear that the magic is intended to have actually happened — but I like to think it did. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here, particularly to my taste. There are three points of view, and not all are as good. One is the female protagonist, a former anthropologist hiding out in Miami from her murderous African shaman ex-husband. The second is the same character, but told in the format of journals written during her field work in Siberia and Africa. And the third is a Miami Cuban-American police detective investigated a series of horrific murders in Miami (perpetrated by the nasty shaman of course). I loved the detective, his investigations of the ritual crime scenes, and the bit of Cubano Miami flavor . The present action protagonist was okay, and the journals were intermittent. When they got into the magic stuff they were good. What I most loved about this book was the creepy and very realistic feel of the mostly Yoruba based shamanistic magic. Overall I enjoyed reading it, but the book could have benefited from some tightening up. The detective investigating this awful ritual crimes was very good too. If you like murder procedurals, and you like creepy well researched voodoo-esque magic, then give this a read.

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