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Review: Poison Makers by Jimmy Olsen

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If you’re a fan of mystery and suspense, you’ll enjoy Poison Makers. It is an interesting and suspenseful romp into the mystery genre that jumps from Santo Domingo to Haiti to New York and back again.

The plot follows Edgar Espinosa-Jones (EJ), a scuba diver and part-time detective as he is hired to investigate the death of an ambassador. His investigation leads him to Haiti and deep into Haitian voodoo religion. Things are not all that they seem in this world of murder and voodoo and EJ has to figure out whom to trust if he wants to solve this mystery and get out unscathed.

I am not an avid reader of mystery novels, but Olsen grabbed my attention with its dip into Haitian voodoo religion. The writing is solid and delves into beautiful descriptions about its surroundings as well as Dominican politics (or how it was in the 70’s anyway) It is an interesting and unique look at another culture that many people won’t get to experience firsthand. The plot is engaging, you are given just enough information to follow the mystery without guessing the ending.

This doesn’t mean the book doesn’t have its flaws. I felt as if the prologue was unnecessary and Olsen tends to mention EJ’s American-Dominican heritage too often, but the story was fun, had interesting side characters like Sonja Cadavid and Mickey Alba and was filled with twists and false leads and leading to surprising climax near the end of the novel.

This novel is recommended if you are a fan of the thriller and mystery genres. It’s witty, fast paced, and has a satisfying conclusion.

Reviewed by Jazmin Gousse

Publisher: Hoffman House Press
Publication date: 6/1/2011
Pages: 347

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