Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong, I like it.
The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.
New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren't random - an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.
Combating an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn't easy. Jake Warin's loup-garou nature is spiralling downward, enigmatic neighbour Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world's most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ's to-do list. Not to mention big manoeuvres are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.
Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte's pirate wench could be DJ's best option.
It is hard to write a review about this book, without spoiling any of the many surprises and twists in this book. The blurb tells a lot already.
Anew serial killer is in town, and the press has dubbed him the Axeman Deux (two). After every kill he leaves behind his axe. But no viable finger prints have been found so far, and the police is at a loss for clues. Nothing about the victims makes them related. DJ has discovered that this is not a copy cat killer, but the real thing. Something has resurrected the real Axeman and turned him loose again on New Orleans, where the historical (un)dead are still walking around. The power of their fame makes them sort of immortal, like the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, who has a thing for DJ and a nose for making a profit with his schemes, both legal and illegal. And as DJ is the Sentinel for New Orleans, it is her job to keep the pretes in check.
This is easier said than done, as her own magic is not very strong to use in a fight, and her inherited elven magic is still unstable. Even though the elven wand that has chosen her improves it a lot. And so the Regents have decided she needs lessons in her elven magic, and they have chosen the one wizard she hates the most, Adrian Hoffman, the one she blames for the death of her almost step-mother and best friend (read the previous book).
When Jean Lafitte tells her, that the Axeman has not left Old Orleans in the Beyond on his own powers, but that some necromancer has summoned him, and is using him for his own purpose, things get more dangerous instantly. DJ doesn’t know a lot about necromancers, so she needs help from some of the registered ones in town to explain things to her. And one of those is the currant Vampire leader.
Both DJ and Alex are worried about Alex’ cousin Jake, who does not seem to control his loup-garou side. He even nicked DJ, and now there is a chance… Only time can tell. For now, he is hiding out in the Beyond with Jean Lafitte, who will keep him in check.
Then there is her neighbour Quince Randolph (Rand), who is supposed to be her best friend Eugenie’s boyfriend, but he takes more of an interest in DJ herself, who finds him a slimy b@ and wants nothing to do with him. But even though Alex is guarding her after the latest Axeman attack, he tricks her into a transport and things go downhill from there fast.
When DJ finally meets the leaders of the 4 different elven clans, they turn out to be nasty, jealous that she has the staf, and really torment her. I feel very sorry for DJ as these are her (distant) relatives. The elves are selfish and relentless, and they don’t care what they do to DJ. It is more than just a dislike for wizards.
To help them with the investigation, Alex and DJ decide to fill in their detective friend on the fact that there are more things living in New Orleans than humans, and they need him to be their liaison. Ken takes a bit of convincing, but he is a great help.
A book filled with action and magic, and DJ doesn’t get a moment of rest. A murderer is after her, for unknown reasons, a man she cares about is hurting, is Alex interested in her after all, or not, and why can’t her neighbour not leave her alone? Add to that getting lessons from a man who dislikes her greatly, which is two sided, and an investigation that is going nowhere, and life is not fun for DJ.
There was not a big part for Jean Lafitte in this book, but he is there when DJ needs him. For help, for shelter, for hiding and for putting Rand is his place. And merman René Delachaise acts as DJ’s backup a few times when Alex is busy otherwise, I really like him. But as a friend, not as a potential lover.
When the plot finally was revealed, I was amazed by it, I had not seen that coming. At all. It was a great plot, and a great ending to the book.
Suzanne really puts DJ through a lot of pain and misery, and I hope that will improve a bit in the next book. I really like this series, it is fresh and original, and I cannot wait to see what will happen next. I don’t trust Rand for a minute, he is a manipulative @@, but then I really hate men who don’t hear the word “no” or “get out of my house”. As I tweeted to Suzanne when I finished the book, I hope he dies a slow and excruciating death in the next book.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian