Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: I like it, though my copy is the UK trade size, which is nice as well. And it is autographed by the author!
The hurricane may have passed, but in New Orleans the storm rages on. With the borders between the city and the otherworld in ruins, new and dangerous species have swarmed into the waterways. There is talk of war between rival clans in the darkest depths of Louisiana’s swamps and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the peace.
When wizards start dying and it becomes apparent that the waters of the mighty Mississippi itself have been poisoned, DJ will have to really focus if she is to find out who – or what – is responsible. And with an undead suitor, the amorous pirate Jean Lafitte, on her back that isn’t going to be easy.
It's anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.
I liked Suzanne Johnson’s debut book, Royal Street, so I have been looking forward to this second book in the series, with a lot of anticipation. Which often means getting disappointed. Lucky for me, Suzanne Johnson wrote a great second book in the series, and I loved it.
DJ is still getting used to her new role as co-sentinel of New Orleans, together with Alex Warin, her new partner and former Enforcer. Alex loves doing everything by the book, while DJ hates writing reports for the Council of Elders. Hurricane Katrina broke the boundaries between the otherworld, and this one, and new species keep coming through the barrier. It is DJ’s job to keep them in check, make sure they blend in with the humans who still do not suspect anything. It is quite normal for Louis Armstrong to make an appearance in the French Quarter and give away a few songs nowadays, but the humans think he is just a great look-a-like, instead of the real deal.
DJ also cannot get rid of the undead pirate Jean Lafitte. The collective memories of the people in New Orleans keep him and the other famous or infamous people “alive” and around. When he saved her life in the previous book, she promised him some outrageous things, and he still has to collect on that for the most part. So when he wants to meet with her, she cannot really refuse.
What she did not guess, is the fact that he needs her help, and he wants an official date with DJ. Dinner and a nice stroll. There are merpeople in New Orleans, something the Council never bothered to tell her. A second clan of merpeople has appeared in New Orleans waters, and they are on the verge of war together. Jean needs her to negotiate a truce, or his business dealings with Rene Delachaise will be hurt.
And so the next day, DJ, Alex and Jean Lafitte set out to meet with Rene and Robert Delachaise and Denis Villeres to come to an agreement. Both parties blame the other for poisoning the river, making their people sick, and DJ will have to find out if the river really is being poisoned, and if so, why, by whom and how. And most importantly, how to put a stop to it before humans get ill and die as well.
Rene doesn’t hide his dislike of wizards from DJ, something that goes back to the last war, but DJ tries very hard to solve their issues, and she needs their help in gathering the water samples she needs.
When next they set out on Rene Delachaise’s fishing boat to go the place of the first contamination, they find more then they bargained for. The remains of a recently and ritually murdered wizard. DJ didn’t know him, and she thought she knew all the wizards living in New Orleans by now. Searching for clues, she gets better acquainted with Plaquemines Parish than she ever wished to.
Alex sets out to investigate this murder, and the possible murder and at least disappearance of another wizard, with the help of his cousin Jake. Jake has been trained to become an enforcer, if only he gets his loup-garou side under control, which is not easy. But if he can do it, and as a former military man he has the advantage, there might just be a new start for him and DJ romantically.
DJ asks her friend Tish for help in testing the water samples. Tish was her later father’s girlfriend, and they kind of lost contact lately. But DJ really wants to get over that, Tish is the only link to Gerry she has left. Well, Tish and the Sebastian, the cat from hell she inherited. Something is very wrong with the water of the Mississippi, but nothing they try gives them the answer they need, so in the end, DJ uses her elven staf. Maybe this way they will get some answers. A painful vision shows DJ what she needs to know: somehow the otherworld river Styx is leaking into the Mississippi, poisoning its waters, and she will have to fix those holes. The council of Elders is no help either, so it is up to DJ.
Not wanting to be so dependent on the merpeople, DJ sets out to research other water creatures whom might be able to help her, and she comes upon a coven of nymphs, running an escort service. One of their people will come out tomorrow and help with the diving. The nymph in question does seem to have quite some effect on the men though, and she really seems to like the mermen as well. With Alex and Jake being busy investigating the dead wizards, DJ has no choice but to call Jean Lafitte for help, she does not dare go out to Plaquemines Parish on her own.
Somehow, both investigations are tied together, and DJ will have to find out the truth and a solution fast, before she becomes alligator bait herself.
It is a big book, but I read it fairly quickly, thanks to Suzanne Johnson’s engaging writing style. It is al fast paced, but DJ does have some private dating time. Somehow, she is suddenly very popular. Jean Lafitte wants a date, but so does Jake, and why is Alex kissing her? They decided to stay friends, as they are working so close together. I enjoyed reading those private parts of DJ’s life, but it is the story itself, the uniqueness and the settings that kept me glued to the pages. I just had to know what happened next, and most important, why it was all happening.
DJ is trying to be a kick ass heroine, and thanks to the elven staff and her elven heritage, she can use magic like a Red Wizard is able to use, instead of having to depend on her potions and spells. She doesn’t back down from a challenge, or hide behind Alex and Jake, but she goes for it, trying to do the right thing.
There was the fun part of Jean Lafitte driving in a stolen Corvette, and also a very sad part, which hurt DJ very much. But she is growing into her powers, and I cannot wait to find out what will happen in the next book. Suzanne did tell me, more Elves and of course more intrigue.
If you like urban fantasy, and unique paranormal creatures in your stories, you might like this series a lot. I know I do.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian