Jamie Broadnax, founder of Black Girl Nerds was kind enough to let me review the first novel by author Daniel José Older (@djolder). Half-Resurrection Blues is a prequel to his short story collection, Salsa Nocturna and remixes the Cupid and Psyche myth through the lens of a half-dead hit man in modern day Brooklyn. Half-Resurrection Blues will be available for purchase today January 6 2015 from Penguin’s Roc imprint.


Half-Resurrection Blues Final Cover


The novel begins by channeling the persona of the Haiti God of Death, Baron Samedi intertwined with the religious system of belief, Santeria. What is the meaning of life? What is your purpose? How powerful are you? What did you do in this world? These are questions I asked myself while reading.

Older’s use of a poem by Chicana feminist writer, thinker, poet and activist Gloria Azaldua in this work is so beautifully and  passionately conveyed. The protagonist Carlos’ path is summarized in the heart of the poem well; “When life falls apart, it is only because a plan for greatness is coming together.”

An insightful read if you are looking for self-help and/or spiritual motivation. It has twists and turns that keep you guessing and cool superpowers you wished you possessed.

To me the message of the book is we are all the creators of our own domain. Life is far from fair, but we can use the hurt of our past to help others or hurt them. The choice is yours, just know you reap what you sow.

Half-Resurrection Blues has an open ending and I am assuming there will be a sequel.

The book is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Checkout a snippet from Audible HERE

Daniel José Older will be a guest this Sunday January 11th on the Black Girl Nerds podcast! Tune in LIVE at 7pm EST / 4pm PST via twib.fm/live

To learn more about Daniel’s fictional works check out more below!

Music, Fiction and Ambulance tales: http://ghoststar.net/

His debut short story collection, Salsa Nocturna: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615624456/

Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History: longhidden.com

Twitter: @djolder

Special thanks to author for tweeting along with me as I read his book!


Speed Star 1.0481371  00Christina Angela Jeter is an avid reader, lover of NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) & Halloween Horror Fanatic. You can follow her on Twitter: @cjeter

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  • I don’t think this review really taps into all that this novel is. HRB is so much more than a book that uses a poem well that may be insightful if one is looking for self-help, which is what I got from this.

    Firstly, it should have been mentioned that the book- without even delving deep- is just a great read. It is refreshing and it would make fantasy appealing even to those who are not a fan of the genre. There are moments where you are on edge without even realizing- you’d find yourself simultaneously wondering what happens next and saying “I can’t handle whatever happens next!”.

    It speaks on race and racial identity in an honest way. It touches on gender roles. It highlights the effects of gentrification. And all this was done in an effective, almost effortless way. You end up being taught something or reaffirmed of things you knew without even realizing. And the HUMOR in the writing is not to be ignored. It was delightfully surprising because I did not expect this in this genre.

    The book uses spirituality in an critical way- it shows how modern and old-school medicine can not only exist, but be used together for the same healing purposes. And Older’s writing is so superb that you find yourself relating to and rooting for characters who are not only fictional but (as far as I know) not probable.

    The connection in this review with the Cupid & Psyche myth was interesting. It gave me an “ahh. hmm” moment. But if nothing else, it shows that this book can be a lot of different things to different people and that your state of mind while reading will influence what you take from it.

    I look forward to the rest of the rest of the Bone Street Rumba!