Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 22: The Voodoo Amulet

Starring Jerry Lacy and Lara Parker, with Michael Salami and Adenya Knight

Written by Mark Thomas Passmore, Directed by Darren Gross and James Goss

In which “Cassandra Collins” aka the witch Angelique (Parker) summons Tony Peterson (Lacy) to New Orleans to bail her out of jail and enlist his help in finding the Zombie’s Eye – a powerful voodoo amulet that several people would kill to possess…

While the story behind Tony and Cassandra’s first audio pairing (in The Death Mask) may have lacked depth, the same cannot be said for The Voodoo Amulet. Heck, the “teaser sequence” alone has Tony breaking Cassandra out of a police station while zombies tear the place apart!

And why is Cassandra in the slammer anyway? Why, for suspicion of murder, of course! Only this time she’s genuinely innocent for once, but with her powers mysteriously out of commission, she has to rely on the one man she even vaguely trusts – Tony. Acting as a “supernatural courier” to deliver the titular amulet to its buyer, powerful businessman/ houngan Mr. Jericho, who demands delivery of his goods – no matter what! Consequently, the reluctant allies must follow a trail of clues across the city with other interested parties on their tales – people who have their own designs for the Zombie’s Eye…

Set in the perfect city for a Dark Shadows story, The Voodoo Amulet brims with atmosphere and action aplenty, keeping the listener quite engaged while Tony and Cassandra wage their usual banter of one-upmanship. But pleasingly, this story deals more with the witch’s vulnerabilities and even reveals more about her short-lived marriage to publisher Sky Rumson during the Leviathan plotline.

And while some have complained that Cassandra’s relative helplessness in this story is out of character, it’s worth remembering that she’s never had very good luck with the undead – such as Jeremiah and Barnabas – so her terror at having to deal with zombies may not be as odd as initially thought. But these critics do have a point that she’s usually at her most dangerous when she has nothing to lose, and that’s certainly not in evidence here…

Also, while it’s nice to have several other voice actors contributing to the proceedings, the folks playing Jericho and his wife Sabella disappointingly stick to the archetypal Afro-Caribbean cadences in which villainous voodoo practitioners always seem to speak. And why hire an actor to give a few lines of dialogue as a barman (plus moans and groans as a zombie) when Jerry Lacy has to play one of the other people interested in the amulet, with a Monty Python-esque French accent? Considering the agency this character works for, I’m surprised he didn’t get his own voice actor, as I could easily see him as a recurring adversary.

Verdict: Minor quibbles aside, The Voodoo Amulet delivers the goods with aplomb, making good use of its characters, setting and premise. 8/10

John S. Hall

Click here to order The Voodoo Amulet from Big Finish

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