Verdict: This is one horror tale that is obviously the result of meticulous drafting and editing, as well as an awesome debut novel from a master of the craft.
In this intricate tale of intrigue and family drama, it seems like every time you think you’ve figured the whole story out, there is more! Not only is One Blood an amazing narrative, told from the perspectives of various characters stretching from slavery to present day, but it builds upon these characters with plot twists aplenty. Amaru mentions that this book was a twelve year project, and that the world changed greatly in between. However, the story seems to have gotten better and better.
The Lafitte family is cursed. Governor Randy Lafitte is at the center of the story, where he undermines his family from the time he turns eighteen. Resurrecting an ancient curse that trails back to his ancestor, Luc Lafitte, Randy is responsible for the death of his father, and as the story goes on, we discover that is just the beginning of his murderous tendencies. Lafitte’s son, Kristopher is killed at eighteen, and now his daughter Karen, eighteen as well, is kidnapped. Can the curse be responsible for all this?
Said curse begins after an affair between Luc Lafitte’s daughter Melinda, and a slave on their plantation, Isaac. As Isaac is tortured and hanged, Melinda kills herself and their unborn child by plunging to her death from the roof of the Lafitte home. This leads to continual disaster for Luc’s family, and for all the Lafittes to come. Because the Lafittes have a background as Klan members, there is additional taboo to the fact that Melinda is carrying on with a black man. Through the years, prejudices do not die, and the rifts between father and son repeat again and again.
Meanwhile, Juanita is married to Walter Simmons, the first black governor of a town in Louisiana. Walter is framed, murdered, and later becomes the namesake of a playground where a terrible tragedy takes place: Simmons Park. Not only is there a gang battle where Kristopher Lafitte is killed, but here begins the story of Lincoln Baker. Convicted for the murders of Kris (his best friend) and others; including cops and rival gang members, Link doesn’t expect to be freed from jail ever again. When Randy Lafitte grants him a pardon suddenly, things begin to heat up.
In addition to these characters whose lives hang in the balance consistently, there is Panama X, a General of the Black Mob. Panama X harnesses Vodun power to control spirits, inhabit others’ bodies for periods of time, and cast spells and curses at will. Voodoo is seen as a natural and realistic religion; unlike the taboo freak-show it is often made out to be in the media: a refreshing change indeed.
The intrigue of One Blood is an ongoing impulse to keep turning pages in disbelief at all the detail and turnaround that occurs in the plot. Amaru succeeds in satisfying the reader’s craving for more action, more magic, and more blood. Though the book is a hefty 488 pages, I was not left bored or sleepy at any point. The tale just rolls on its own into the realm of the unknown and keeps coming back with revelations of lineage, rivalry and revenge.
This is one horror tale that is obviously the result of meticulous drafting and editing, as well as an awesome debut novel from a master of the craft.
Reviewed by Keri English for Indie Reader
Purchase One Blood from Amazon