by Dina Rae
Lucien Nazaire flees his Haitian homeland and meanders around the United States for decades. He settles in aWisconsin trailer park filled with elderly tenants. He meets Jake, his teenage neighbor, and hires him for odd household jobs. As their relationship progresses, Lucien invites the boy into the world of Voodoo.
Jake LaRue lives in foster care with his abusive uncle. The Voodoo lessons give him a sense of power within an otherwise helpless situation. Although the boy is a loner, he feels an instant connection with his classmate, Henry, and introduces him to Lucien.
Henry Novak has Asperger’s Syndrome. He fixates on historical events, most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Like Jake, he becomes passionate about the dark side of Voodoo. They learn how to cast spells on those they hate and lust, leading up to dire consequences.
Several months after the Haitian earthquake, Henry convinces his family to volunteer with their church in the island’s reconstruction. Their mission turns into a nightmare when he mysteriously walks off of the campsite.
Bad Juju is a balance of horror, romance, and literary fiction intended for ages fifteen and up. Research about the Voodoo religion, shapeshifting, zombies, and possession and themes of redemption and loneliness emerge throughout the plot.
Here, the author shares her playlist for Bad Juju.
Black Magic Woman: Santana
Wish I could have found a song called Black Magic Man! A Haitian bokor, also known as a sorcerer, teaches two teens the dark arts.
I’m in Love with a Stripper: T. Pain
Jake LaRue has a major crush on his foster mother who works at the local stripclub.
A Question of Lust: Depeche Mode
Jake and his friend, Henry, cast love spells on those they lust.
Lots of Voodoo research went into the book.
Put a Spell on You: Credence Clearwater Revival
Two teens learn how to cast a variety of Voodoo spells.
Dead: My Chemical Romance
Lucien Nazaire, a ninety-seven year old bokor, keeps on cheating death.
Hypnotized: Fleetwood Mac
Henry Novak disappears while in Haiti on his church’s mission trip. Once found, his parents believe he is hypnotized.
Can’t have a Voodoo story without zombies. The story goes into how the dead are resurrected.
This song is about regret. Lucien’s whole life is plagued with regret.
Redemption Song: Bob Marley
Redemption is the major theme of the book.
An Excerpt from Bad Juju
Jake rolled out of bed and army crawled to the doorway. Looking through the
opening that separated the door from the carpeting, he saw Leah’s head
bloodied. She lay limp on the floor. Pete stopped hitting her. His whole
demeanor changed. With a wolfish expression, he began to unbuckle his belt.
Rhianna’s screams got closer. She must have darted to the other side of the
living room, putting her smack-dab in front of Jake’s bedroom door. He could
now see her foot. It partially blocked his view. Shit! Can’t get involved!
If I open the door…
“Pete, what the hell is a matter with you? Stop it! She’s passed out. You
beat her into a coma, man! And now you’re gonna…Sober up and think of what
you’re doing! Right in front of your daughter!” T.J. yelled.
Is he suicidal? Jake knew his uncle would make T.J. regret his words. Like
Leah, T.J. was small. He was filled with faults, but violence was not one of
them. On perfect cue, Jake could hear his uncle’s bare fists hooking T.J. in
the jawbone. Rhianna’s screams turned into full-blown hysteria. The poor girl
was hyperventilating while desperately grasping Jake’s locked doorknob for
refuge. I don’t want to be involved! Go back to your closet and lay still!“Jakey, Jakey, pwwweeeze!” Rhianna sobbed.
Jake couldn’t take her suffering any longer. Quickly unlocking the door, he
grabbed the little girl and pulled her inside his room and then relocked the
The living room had grown eerily quiet. Jake had a difficult time hearing while
Rhianna wailed. “It’s okay now. Try to be quiet,” he whispered, straining to
hear. Nothing but silence was on the other side of his door. His heart rate
doubled. Always quiet before the storm. Was it over? Or was I next? He slid
on his gym shoes, took a can of Comet cleaner from his bathroom, and crept up to
the only window in the room. It was small, but Jake knew he could fit through.
Then came the sound he was waiting for. Click, click, click. Pete was
delicately trying to open the door. He now knew it was locked.
About the Author
Dina Rae is a new author here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots. Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.
Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.