Returning from a trip abroad to find the bodies of voodoo practitioners buried alive in her Brooklyn apartment, Haitian-born artist Angelina Hammel asks streetwise cop Reuben Abrams for help.
Modern-day voodoo practices, a tentacular right-wing political conspiracy and its connection to slave-trading dynasties in 18th-century Haiti provide the mysteries around which Easterman ( Brotherhood of the Tomb ) fashions this uneven thriller. The impact of intriguing details about the slave trade and zombie lore and moments of high-pitched terror (set, for instance, in skeleton-littered, centuries-old secret tunnels beneath a Brooklyn, N.Y., wharfside warehouse), is diminished by Easterman's penchant for melodrama and his unclear characterization. Haitian-born Angelina Hammel lives in Brooklyn with her white ethnologist husband, who is murdered shortly after they return from a field trip to Zaire. When she discovers a collection of corpses beneath her living room floor, Lt. Reuben Abrams is assigned the case. Easterman's complex, far-ranging plot takes the two of them to bed and, after a series of violent murders, to Haiti as semi-informed operatives of a secret alliance of U.S. government officials--and as targets of a more powerful, high-ranking cabal. In that exotic setting, murders accrue--during an ancient night-long ritual; on the sea floor as a hurricane rages; in a church--leading to revelations about voodoo's sacred origins and a violent, unsurprising ending.