Plot Type: Urban Fantasy (UF)
Now Kallie, her friends, and Gage’s best friend, the sexy nomad Layne Valin, must track down the killer, following a path from New Orleans back to the home of Kallie’s aunt (or is she?) back in Bayou Cyprès Noir, where Kallie grew up. Layne is a vessel, which means his body can be taken over by the spirit of a dead person, and this becomes an important part of the plot. All of the action takes place over a period of just a few days.
The second book opens just hours after the ending of the first, and the first chapters are overflowing (to the point of confusion) with flashbacks and replays of the events of the previous book. Phoenix should probably have considered prefacing Black Heart Loa with a prologue that summarized the highlights of book 1. Then she could have jumped right into book 2 without muddling it up with so much rehashing of the previous plot points. At any rate, the first major event in Black Heart Loa is the disappearance of Kallie's cousin, Jackson. Kallie is sure that the evil Dr. Heron is somehow involved in Jackson's kidnapping, even though she and Layne killed him in the climax of the previous book. Kallie and Belladonna decide to travel to Dr. Heron's old house to see if they can find Jackson. Meanwhile, Layne is also on his way to Dr. Heron's house, where he hopes to find and punish the ghost of Babette, Dr. Heron's evil wife, who set in motion all of the tragic events in the previous book. See what I mean? This book is so connected with the previous one, that it's tough to understand the Black Heart Loa plot without knowing all of the ins and outs of the story told in book 1. Once the story pushes past the explanatory retrospective, it gets easier to understand and begins to pull you along, but getting through the first few chapters is slow going.