Publisher: Next Chapter Publishing
Date of publication: October 10th, 2022
Series: Simone Doucet
Tainted Harvest—Book 1
Wicked Bleu—Book 2
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Paranormal
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | Kobo
A 103-year-old murder mystery.
An amateur ghost sleuth.
Can a wrong be rectified in death?
Eight months ago, Simone experienced her first spectral encounter. It awakened a dormant second sight and opened a chasm to the afterlife. Now, another spirit from 1917 New Orleans has wandered through that passage, haunting her with an intoxicating jasmine fragrance and wicked antics.
To escape this mysterious ghost, Simone jumps at a seven-day complimentary Mardi Gras hotel package, unaware there might be an ancestral power behind her decision, an identity she grapples with.
Is the ghost’s name Bleu?
She’s a lady of the night who lived a dangerous life in the infamous Storyville. A place lined with mansion-like brothels on the edge of the French Quarter run by unscrupulous madams and frequented by dangerous criminals. WWI is on the horizon, jazz music is burgeoning, and Bleu’s life unravels.
Visions of her past and horrific death beset Simone as she explores present-day New Orleans with her three roommates.
But why are the images fragmented? Has Bleu forgotten what happened the stormy night she died? Can Simone uncover Bleu’s murderer and reunite her with her loved ones before it’s too late?
Knock-Knock, Knock-Knock! “I’m here. Can’t you hear me?”
Wicked Bleu by E. Denise Billups
I like reading paranormal suspense/mystery/thriller. This reflects in the books that I review. If I get a request to review a book in any of those genres, I will accept it. That was the case with Wicked Bleu. I read the synopsis, and I knew that I was going to love it. And guess what, I did!!
Wicked Bleu had an exciting plotline. Eight months previously, Simone had dormant powers awakened, and she could connect with the dead. A new ghost from 1917 is taunting her with its presence. Unnerved, Simone takes a trip to New Orleans with her roommates but finds that the encounters intensify, and they turn in an unexpected direction. On the cusp of the Covid 19 pandemic that shut down the country, Simone must unravel a century-old murder. Who was Bleu? Who killed her? And more importantly, what is Simone’s connection to her?
Wicked Bleu is the second book in the Simone Doucet series. I never say this, but readers can read this as a stand-alone. I would recommend reading book one, but it isn’t needed.
I am going to put up a trigger warning for this book. I went back and forth on it for a little bit while writing my notes. I decided to include it because of the subject matter and some scenes in the brothel. There is a scene of attempted rape, mentions of rape and bearing a child of rape, the beating and murder of the main character, comments of a serial killer in Storyville, drug use (opium), and descriptions of the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading Wicked Bleu.
Wicked Bleu is a fast-paced book. I read it in one night, mainly because I didn’t want to put it down. I did pay for it the next day, but it was worth it. Also worth it was the locations where the book took place. The beginning of the book takes place in an apartment in Brooklyn and the rest in New Orleans. I loved it. Having never been to Mardi Gras, I was living through the characters when they were at the parades. I also loved the descriptions of 1917 New Orleans and the colorful Storyville.
The main characters complimented the book and added extra depth to the plotline.
Simone: I enjoyed her character. She wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t have liked her if she was. She didn’t want her gift (I wouldn’t have either, she blacks out), but at the same time, she learned to embrace it in this book.
Bleu: She wasn’t someone I particularly liked at first. She came across as selfish and manipulative. Add in that she possessed Simone’s friend Stacey (a huge no-no). But, after the possession, I started to see a different side to her. All she wanted was to find out who murdered her, reconnect with the love of her life, and get her daughter’s forgiveness. It was at that point that I started to like her.
The secondary characters complicated the main characters. The only ones I didn’t like were Jude (he was very distant for most of the book), Bleu (for reasons stated above), and the person who killed Bleu (spoiler if I gave the name away).
Wicked Bleu is a paranormal mystery with a bit of suspense added to it. The author kept me guessing who the killer was (I figured it out shortly before Simone did) and that person’s motives. As for the paranormal angle, I enjoyed seeing a different take on ghosts and Bleu possessing Stacey. It fits very well within those genres.
The main storyline with Simone, Bleu, and Bleu’s murder was well written. Like I said above, I kept guessing who the murderer was (at one point, I did think a client killed her). I also loved the descriptions of 2020 and 1917 New Orleans. It has reignited a desire to visit there and visit.
The storyline with Simone, Bleu, Bleu’s daughter, Bleu’s fiance, and Bleu’s former best friend broke my heart. I did have a hard time following it (and not because of how it was written but because I kept getting interrupted). But once I got all of my distractions settled (cough9yearoldwhowouldnotgotobedcough), I could better focus on it. And that storyline broke my heart. I was alternately sad, angry, and triumphant (you know why if you have read the book).
I couldn’t believe the ending. The author wrapped everything up in a way that I loved. And then she did something unexpected. It was a cliffhanger, and I couldn’t believe what I had read. I cannot wait to see what Simone will do!! It has made me all fired up for the next book.
Three things I liked about Wicked Bleu:
- The characters. They were all well-written and had distinct personalities.
- The location. New Orleans has been on my must-visit list for years.
- The end. Talk about not expecting what happened!!
Three things I disliked about Wicked Bleu:
- Bleu’s possession of Stacey. It proved to be dangerous.
- Bleu’s daughter’s backstory. I felt bad for that child and everything she had been through.
- Who killed Bleu. That person deserved everything that they got!!
I would recommend Wicked Bleu to anyone over 21. There are no graphic sex scenes (most were implied or nongraphic). There was language and violence. See also my trigger warning.
If you enjoyed reading Wicked Bleu, you will enjoy reading these books: