I don't think it's fair to say that the first book was stronger than the second. Not really. What throws people off the track is the change of pace and accents on different issues.
I love Adrian Phoenix. She is one of the best in urban fantasy, and one of the most underrated authors. You should read Her Maker's Song series, they are superb! Although Hoodoo series take place in the same sort of area, they are inherently different.
As in book#1 all the action happens within 24 hours. There are plenty of life and death situations, horrifying discoveries and layers upon layers of lies. Everything gets too complicated because the magic is messed up and backfires 10 times out of 10, the hurricane is getting close, Baron Samedi, the loa of death is hunting Kallie, and Layne picks up a second ghost rider...
Also the loup-garou angle was intriguing. What's up with the demon wolf? I thought he was awesome. The idea with the ritual in the end... mm-m, very vivid and intense.
I would have loved to see more Augustine, but the girl can't have everything. Overall, good second installment which left me with more questions than answers in the end. Can't wait for the third book.