The Black Lodge is set in Chicago and there is a new guy in town. The Dark Man is a creature of the shadows and he dresses in black. From his cowboy hat down to his old work boots, everything is black. Even in summer, he wraps himself up well in gloves; a scarf; and a long, thick overcoat. The Dark Man carries only one item that is not black—his butcher’s cleaver. Most of the time it’s red, but his cleaver gets a lot of use, so that is only to be expected. The other thing of note, about the man in black, is he appears to be unstoppable. Knives do not cut him and bullets are equally ineffective. All of this is very bad news for anyone who is connected to the Children of Danballah.
The Children of Danballah is a religious organization, founded by Willis Royce. Royce claims he is a powerful voodoo Bocar, but it’s a con. The Children is just a front for his crack cocaine business and it’s a business the Dark Man is busy destroying as he murders everyone involved—even the customers. The Dark Man kills ’em slow and chops ’em small, and he loves every minute of it.
The Dark Man is an impressive and scary character, but there are plenty of other characters in The Black Lodge that are every bit as interesting and the things happening to the Children of Danballah are just a small part of a much bigger picture. There is a lot going on in this novel and it all makes very interesting reading.
Sid Taine is a psychic detective working on a case for a wealthy socialite called Evangeline Caldwell. She’s looking for a black magician called Arelim. Evangeline tells Taine that her very soul depends on him finding the magician for her and he must do so before Friday.
Pappa Benjamin is a voodoo priest and, unlike Willis Royce, he’s the real deal. Pappa Benjamin controls a powerful magic. Just like Taine, Pappa Benjamin’s path is destined to cross that of the Dark Man.
Janet Packard is a millionaire’s daughter and a successful businesswoman in her own right. She is a strong, capable lady, but when she discovers her son Timmy is in danger her investigations of a secret society called the Black Lodge bring her to Taine’s office, were she and the big detective become powerfully attracted to each other.
All of the aforementioned characters are very believable, and it’s great characters such as these that are one of the things that make The Black Lodge such an interesting read. My favourite character in the book is Ape Largo. Ape is Willis Royce’s bodyguard. He’s one ugly-looking dude. Largo’s distinctive appearance was responsible for earning him the name “Ape” and he has carried it for so long he cannot remember ever being called anything else. Largo doesn’t just look like an ape. He also has the strength of one too, but there is much more to Ape than meets the eye. He is an extremely intelligent man and when the Darkman begins targeting the Children of Danballah, and Royce turns to Pappa Benjamin for help, Ape understands the old man’s words better than his employer, a fact that allows him a much better chance of survival.
The Black Lodge is 275 pages long. It’s a well thought out story and there is always plenty happening to keep the reader turning the pages. This reader turned them all and enjoyed every last one of them.