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The Horror Zine Review
by Kristen Houghton
Series: Cate Harlow Private Investigation
Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners
by Kristen Houghton
Review by Jeani Rector
I had the immense pleasure of reading a previous Cate Harlow book titled For I Have Sinned, and you can see my review of that book HERE. Now, as part of the continuing Cate Harlow series, author Kristen Houghton has penned a new novel tilted Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners.
Cate (Catherine) Harlow is a smart, sassy private investigator who is determined to solve unusual and controversial cases, no matter where the facts take her. She is often accompanied by her “friends-with-benefits,” ex-husband Will, a detective of another sort: the police force.
But it is Cate’s best friend Melissa that Unrepentant focuses upon. Melissa is a beautiful, high-cost escort who is gracious, classy, and…let’s just say, extremely interesting. In this book, Melissa’s aunt (Tante Anjali) is accused of murder, and so Melissa calls upon her best friend to help.
What makes Unrepentant a stand-out and separated from other books about private detectives, is that Tante Anjali is a Mambo, a sorciere de bon. She is a “gifted witch of white magic.” This is where the excitement begins!
The action takes place in New Orleans, the city rich in Voodoo. Houghton gets the setting and even the feeling of the city right, as evidenced in this conversation: “The New Orleans nights are beautiful and magical. You can hear the distant sound of drums from Congo Square echo against the buildings—a steady thrumming sound, muted and ethereal. And look! See the mist through the French doors? The heat of the day mixed with the cooler night air rises in steam from the still moist ground and you swear that you can see spirits all around you.”
Houghton has done her homework on Voodoo. Unrepentant is detailed, and runs the gauntlet from revealing current, secretive Voodoo ceremonies to describing the Church of Sainte Ursule and the history behind the religion. It is a fascinating read and it felt like I was actually there…taking a colorful vacation into an exotic, secretive and forbidden land. I love this book because it is so authentic.
The mystery in Unrepentant is not that Tante murdered another Voodoo priestess, but why she is protecting the real killer. Cate Harlow is drawn into the enchantment (and the danger) of real practitioners of the often-misunderstood religion. It goes from one fascinating scenario to another in rapid succession.
Houghton’s writing style continues to be fast-paced, yet detailed enough to savor the experience and flavor of the City of New Orleans. Unrepentant has everything: a well-rounded and very likeable protagonist, an exciting and original plot-line, an exotic setting, and lots of Voodoo.
I highly recommend the Cate Harlow series by Kristen Houghton. Don’t miss out.
You can buy the book HERE
About the author
She is the author of nine top-selling novels including Welcome to Hell and is hard at work on a new series that features a paranormal investigator with distinct powers of her own. Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories which appear in the popular anthologies of The Horror Zine. Kristen writes for Criminal Element Magazine and The Huffington Post.
About the reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Blood Moon Rising, Hellfire Crossroads, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others. Her historical fiction full-length novel about the 1348 pandemic of bubonic plague titled Pestilence: A Medieval Tale of Plague is published by The Horror Zine Books.