Fear and mystery: Shaman’s Blues by Amber Foxx


On her way back to Delgado Street, Mae wondered what had made her tell Kenny that she would make Muffie do right by him. The last time Mae spoke to her, the woman had been angry and insulted. Samskaras. She had a rut in her karma. It was one thing to agree to find missing people, but something else altogether to think she could fix everything and rescue everyone. Yet she couldn’t seem to stop herself.

shaman's bluesYes, Mae, what’s the deal with that? Mae Martin, personal trainer and psychic, is separated from her second husband and moving to New Mexico to stay with her dad, from whom she has been estranged for 14 years. (His name, by the way, is Marty Martin.) Before she leaves her old life her boss asks her to do her a favour, to see if she can track down a musician who seems to have vanished without a trace. Fair enough, she’ll ask around she says. On arriving in Truth and Consequences, the fantastically named New Mexico town that is to be her new home, she’s given two more tasks, her dad asks her to clean up a rental property in Santa Fe for him. And a random restaurateur asks her to track down wanna be mystic Muffie, who has disappeared with a claim to be “ascending”. To heaven, or the spiritual plane, one assumes. Mae seems to get wrapped up in other people’s problems really quickly.

I don’t usually comment on the cover art of a novel, but if I happened on this one in a store I wouldn’t want to give it a go based on the cover alone. That’s a bit of a problem for it. Once I was into it though I enjoyed it far more than I expected. Foxx’s writing is solid and though the book isn’t a short one it’s a quick read, I raced right through it in a couple of days. Mae is three dimensional, with depth and a back story all her own, and the bit part players are fleshed out too. Jamie, the Aboriginal Australian musician Mae is sent to look for, is a refreshingly real and tortured character. But that brings us to another problem, I had no idea why Mae takes it upon herself to save everybody. Perhaps this is because it is the second novel in the series and I haven’t read the first? Even people she has just met once, and had a single conversation with, suddenly need something from her which she bizarrely agrees to do for them. She takes such a personal interest in the well being of every single character. Why does she care so much about these near strangers? Why does she make it her business to diagnose Jamie and fix his career? Who knows. I started to find it irritating.

“Can I just say that rock climbing is a crazy hobby for a man with a panic disorder and no health insurance?”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Jamie leaned back and grinned at her. “I’m not scared of heights.”

Thankfully, the spiritual side of it, the “shaman” of the title, wasn’t overplayed. Foxx runs her fraudulent Muffie character alongside Mae’s earnestness in a playful, tongue-in-cheek way. In fact, the whole novel is shot through with a really enjoyable sense of humour that made even the more grating aspects of Mae’s saviour complex enjoyable. This is a light read and if I could change anything about it (other than the cover art) I’d probably give it another edit and make it a little tighter. That’s a little quibble though, fans of mysteries would no doubt enjoy this a great deal.

Shaman’s Blues, Amber Foxx: three stars.

Read it for: some light holiday fun with genuine characters.

The author supplied me with a free Kindle version of the novel for review.

About leatherboundpounds

I am a Perth writer who reads plenty and thinks too much. Here are my adventures in literature, one page at a time. View all posts by leatherboundpounds

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