First, a little about the reviewers relationship to RPG's.. I have played RPG's for 13 years, and have tried a lot of different games. I am mostly interested in small game lines, and is not much for the bigger ones (D&D and such). I have owned Hoodoo Blues for about a month, read it, but haven't got the chance to play it yet.
Hoodoo Blues presents a unique setting based on americas southern lore - hoodoo, voodoo, ghosts, werewolfs etc. Players portraits ageless characters with different powers/abilities, and thus is a part of the lore itself.
SETTING: The setting fills approximately a third of the 312 pages, and handles the southern history and culture, including the supernatural. The setting is rich, inspirational and also very well written. I have a bad habit of getting tired of books easily, but with this book i just kept reading.
CHARACTER CREATION: This chapter is another third of the book. This lets you create one of the six different character types; Voodoo user, Hoodoo doctor, Loup Garou (kind of a werewolf/dog/etc), Medicine worker (shaman), Hag (witch), and crossroader (who made a deal with the devil). Since you play ageless people, you need to define what you did with every decade in your life. This takes time, but also fleshes out your character. This chapter gets two big thumps up, since it's almost impossible to create a character that you don't like.
RULES: Utilizing the simple game mechanic ORC (Attribute + skill + D20, reach a difficulty), the rules of Hoodoo Blues is pretty gritty. The rules set is about 30 pages long, and easy to understand. Personally, i have never liked to use the D20, but this system is way more "stable" than the D&D rules.
ADVENTURES: A very helpful chapter, spread on 40 pages, gives tips on how to GM Hoodoo Blues, writing adventures and campaigns, creating interesting NPC's and antagonists etc. The chapter also includes to ready-to-run adventures of high quality. The adventures are maybe a little bit linear for my taste, but i can imagine it fits perfectly to introduce the setting. The plots is also very good, and function as a good inspiration for further adventures.
APPENDIX: 30 pages wich contains some live-action rules (haven't read them), good glossarys of supernatural and southern terms, map of the south, character sheet, quick reference sheets for combat and character creation, and a index (wich is only focused on setting-related things).
LAYOUT: The PDF is 50mb, but contains no mumbo jumbo - even a real old computer can read it fast. Works well with both Adobe, PDF complete and Foxit. The books uses many old free photographs (wich looks very nice, fits with the setting and also allows for a cheaper product), but also contains some good art. One thing that should become industry standard, is the "In-Brief" boxes. In all pieces there is a box that explains the content in one, short sentence. This makes the books content extremely easy to navigate through. Over all, the layout it a bit minimalistic (in a very good way) and very easy on the eye. The book is also pretty printer friendly (aside from the grey boxes).
PROS: Great and unique setting, but not hard to come up with stories. Gritty rules engine. Extremely well written. 'In-Brief'-boxes should be a standard. And, Vajra is practically giving away the PDF for five bucks!
CONS: PDF is not bookmarked (although it is not hard to find what you're looking for, thanks to the table of contents and 'in-brief'-boxes.) Personally, i don't like to use a D20, but the system is still solid.
CONCLUSION: If you are interested in the supernatural, like unique settings or just RPG's in general, you need Hoodoo Blues! Together with Eclipse Phase, this is the greatest and most innovative RPG in many, many years.
[5 of 5 Stars!]