Memphis Hoodoo Murders, by Kathryn Rogers, is an occult horror mystery novel. It was released on August 15, 2015, published by Sartoris Literary Group, and is available for sale on Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Addie Jackson has witnessed people trying to kill her family her entire life, and now her grandparents’ attackers are hunting her. The Memphis police are never able to catch these crooks since the cops have been bewitched to stay away. Her grandparents, Pop and Grandma, habitually lie to Addie, but she is attentive enough to overhear the secrets they keep from her. In her predictive dreams, Addie regularly sees future events, which disturb her, but to her dismay, she has never been able to stop them from coming true. She often dreams of a dark character, who she is later shocked to discover is the Man, a devil from hoodoo legend.
Addie is disturbed to discover she is being stalked by a witch doctor named Hoodoo Helen. To make matters worse, the more secrets Addie uncovers, the more danger she finds. Addie presses Grandma for answers about the power behind the ring and pocket watch she often toys with, but Grandma remains tight-lipped. Knowing their deaths are imminent, Grandma makes a deal with the hoodoo devil to take care of Addie, and Addie is later horrified to discover that her beloved family has been murdered. John, a family friend, steps in to help Addie, and she soon realizes he knows more about her family’s tainted past than she ever has. Addie begins receiving cryptic letters from her deceased grandmother, which reveal a shocking family history revolving around slavery, time travel, and magic.
If Addie can survive jail, her cousin’s abduction, threats from a menacing gang, corrupt law enforcement, and hoodooed attacks, maybe she can finally dream of a future where she will be safe and free.
Excerpt from Memphis Hoodoo Murders
If I told you that people had been trying to kill my family and me my entire life, you would probably just think I was being paranoid, but it’s not paranoia if it’s real.
Sometimes healthy people run for exercise, and oftentimes energetic individuals run for fun. In my neck of the woods, you run just to stay alive. Today I only hoped that the gang members didn’t murder me so I could make it home in one piece. My legs were pumping so hard I thought they might fall off.
Grandma and Pop would tell you I’m petite and pretty when really I’m short and perfectly ordinary. I don’t look anything like them except that we are all small in stature, though I’m so little I look like a shrimp by comparison. I have straight, brown hair with no bangs, smooth skin, and sharp, green eyes. I’ve never dressed fancy as I’ve never had much to begin with. Besides, in my neck of the woods, when you get something shiny, folks try to take it or talk about you for having it, so the more you blend in, the better off you’re bound to be.
“Hey, short stuff! You with the ponytail! I told you to get over here!”
It was my favorite neighborhood thug heckling me.
Just don’t trip. Whatever you do, don’t trip, Addie.
The limb from the fallen tree did not hear my inner monologue, because my foot caught on the log and slung me onto the sidewalk.
“I told you there was no point in running from us,” he said coldly. “We always get what we want.”
I winced in pain and grabbed my right knee, which was running red. I felt like a bleeding fish in the middle of a shark tank.
Show no fear. Don’t cry.
I forced myself to stand and face my antagonists. Their clothes and tattoos were clearly reflective of the Memphis gang, the Skullbangerz—not that I would be privy to any admission from them about this.
“Ouch! Looks like you got a boo-boo,” said a slim, jumpy guy, eyeing me from the stems up. “Want me to kiss on you to make it all better?”
“No, thanks—you’re really not my type,” I said, thankful I had enough spirit to sound snarky.
“Oohh, she’s a feisty one. I like that in a lady,” he toyed dangerously with me.
“Enough with your mouth. You’re wasting my time.” The tall, muscular gang leader cut him off as he stepped towards me. “Yeah, you got to be her,” he remarked as he studied my face.
“Got to be whom?” I asked sullenly.
“June Jackson’s granddaughter,” Jaydon Swisher announced.
I was surprised that he knew who I was. Everyone around here knew him. Just thinking about his cruel reputation made me shudder.
“How do you know her?” I asked to try to pump information out of him.
“So, you is Mrs. Jackson’s girl?” he quizzed me clearly not wanting to give anything away.
“What’s it to you?”
“You ain’t in the position to be asking questions of me. You give me what I want, and I might let you go in one piece…might. You act uncooperative, and I’ll butcher you up while you’re still alive. Then I’ll mail individual pieces of you wrapped up as Christmas presents to your Grandma. Do you understand what I’m telling you right now?”
He was close enough for me to feel his hot breath on my neck.
I knew most people made idle threats. However, I could tell from the way the other gang members kept their distance from him, Jaydon was telling the Gospel truth.
The waterfall of blood continued to rain down my leg. Every fiber in my being told me to get as far away from them as possible. Unfortunately though, as history had indicated, I was too clumsy to outrun them. So, I stalled for time and willed myself to exhibit grace under fire.
The leader of the pack misinterpreted my silence for newfound cooperation and continued to press me, “So, where is it?”
About the author
Kathryn Rogers is a Memphis native with an affinity for local BBQ and blues rock-n-roll. As a licensed therapist, she holds her Masters in Counseling and Psychology, and as a licensed educator, she holds her Bachelors in Education. Her experience providing counseling services to the community prepared her to expound upon the psychological issues her characters wrestle with in her stories. She currently lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband, playful preschooler, and rambunctious Labrador Retrievers.