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Literature / Zora Banks

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The Zora Banks series by Shane Berryhill is a set of dark adult Urban Fantasy books set in Chattanooga, TN.

They star the titular Zora Banks—a beautiful, Southern conjure woman of mixed race—as told through the eyes of her partner, Ash Owens, a pretty boy-redneck cursed with a monstrous alter ego. The pair of them attempt to navigate the complex web of supernatural crime, politics, and petty white-trash politics which their clients bring to their doorstep on a regular basis. The books are described by their author as a mixture of True Blood and Justified.

The first book, Bad Mojo was released in 2014. It is published by Ragnarok Publications.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Implied to be part of the appeal of Ashley.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: How a lot of people feel about Spooks. They're right in the case of werewolves (with the exception of Ashley).
  • Awful Truth: The Congressman killed his daughter in a human sacrifice ritual and covered it up.
    • Ashley killed his wife and child while under the influence of lycanthropy.
  • Antihero: Ashley is a cold-blooded mercenary who sleeps with his best friend's wife and constantly chases women while insisting (to himself) he's desperately in love with Zora.
  • Better as Friends: Zora thinks this way about her and Ashley. Ashley is less than happy about it.
  • Berserk Button: Making racist slurs about Zora will make Ashley go CRAZY.
  • Blatant Lies: Ashley only slept with Baby S***'s wife once and sincerely regrets it.
  • The Brute: Baby S*** is this to Ashley.
  • Camp Gay: Mark is an extremely prissy hairdresser. Subverted when he reveals, while he is a prissy hairdresser and gay, he's also learned to be a mean bastard to rednecks who bully him.
  • City of Adventure: Chattanooga, TN of all places is a center for supernatural crime in the United States.
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  • Death Seeker: Due to the Awful Truth, Ashley wants to kill himself but can't bring himself to do it.
  • Easily Forgiven: Baby S*** forgives Ashley sleeping with his wife and becomes his best friend again after one lie-filled conversation.
  • Fair Cop: Matt is as handsome as Ashley.
  • Fantastic Drug: Bad Mojo is just one of the many ones on the market.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ashley really-really hates vampires, to a murderous degree.
  • Handsome Lech: Ashley could be a trope-namer for this given he seems to be up to his eyeballs in willing fae women.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Elijah went through one of these. Now he's a Jerkass.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Slightly more attention to the details of the religion than most, using correct terminology.
  • HumanSacrifice: It turns out The Congressman was up to this.
  • Hypocrite: Ashley goes up and down about how much he loves Zora but sleeps with half the female cast.
    • The anti-supernatural evangelicals practicing human sacrifice are a more egregious example.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Ashley has these qualities. For example, setting up an unbelievable but entirely sincere sounding plea to his (former) best friend to renew their friendship. Which is insincere but needed to prevent Ashley from being beaten half-to-death. Later, he uses said friend as muscle based on their friendship.
  • Morality Chain: If Zora didn't exist, Ashley's descent into evil would be measured in minutes.
  • Nay-Theist: Ashley has issues with God, despite the fact he knows for a fact he exists. These mostly relate to the fact he's a damned monster who harmed those he loved most.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The Fair Folk are mostly an oversexed bunch of abnormally pretty rednecks.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're descendants of the Serpent of Eden and possessed of snake-like qualities.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves are psychotic killer-rapists who are Always Chaotic Evil. Ashley keeps this side suppressed with Zora's magic.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They are intelligent and attractive if they've fed recently but become mindless if they go without human flesh.
  • The Snark Knight: Ashley is an excellent example of these, considering everyone but Zora worthy of contempt.
  • Southern Gothic: A modernized example with Southern gentility overlooking crime, murder, sleaze, and scandal.
  • Token Good Teammate: Zora Banks seems to be the only decent supernatural in all of TN.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ashley, at some points, implied to be a result of his Death Seeker status.
  • Stepford Snarker: Ashley's life really does suck. He's cursed with lycanthropy (that makes you a psychotic killer/cannibal rapist), murdered someone close to him ( his wife and daughter), is in love with a woman who considers them Better as Friends, and he has a huge number of enemies.
  • Urban Fantasy: Set squarely in this genre.
  • Wretched Hive: Chattanooga, TN, a real-life city, has more murderous supernatural criminals than Prohibition Chicago.
  • The Virus: Lycanthropy turns you into a ravening monster with irresitable urges. Unless, of course, you have mojo to keep it at bay like Zora does for Ashley.