Wicked Bleu by E.Denise Billups

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Purchase link: https://mybook.to/WickedBleu

Aren’t we all haunted?  Don’t we all feel it? 

Simone Dulcet can feel the ghosts of her past family, and they get to her.  They have secrets they want her to uncover, that only she can. They won’t go away.  And her friends get dragged in, too.  And her professional life.  And her safety.

Orphan Bleu. Wicked Bleu.  Lives from the turn of the last century, when things were bad for black people, bad for women, bad for the poor, and where the disappearance of a prostitute doesn’t count for much. (Ummm… sounds familiar.  Which century was that?)

Let’s be technical here: the book is well researched, well plotted, clearly written from a deep understanding, and it’s a captivating read. E. Denise Billups writes beautifully, as hauntingly as her characters.  I could smell the perfumes, hear the music, feel the fingers at the back of my neck at the sound of that little bell. I sensed what it would be like for a ghost to enter and inhabit me. I could see the night in New Orleans, and the buildings, and the little shops. I could feel the stultifying ambiance of the brothel in all its delicacy and coarseness. And the characters old and new. And I felt the darkness of the cold river Mississippi, with its old secrets. She is adept – in this book as in others – at making the reader believe the unbelievable, though really it’s for the believable truths of it that I really liked the book.

Why do we want to believe in ghosts?  I don’t know, but I know why I wanted to believe in this one.  I want to believe that we can go back, put the past right, achieve justice for old crimes. I’m glad that Simone and her friends could achieve that, even if only by knowing, by exposing the truth, by letting what happened in the past inform their present. We should do that more in the real world too – it doesn’t require that one believes in ghosts.