Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson

River Road
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Publication: Tor Books; Reprint edition (June 25, 2013)

Description: Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator. 

Wizards are dying, and someone—or something—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two. 

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series continues.

My Thoughts: Suzanne Johnson adds to the ambiance of New Orleans—already having a touch of the paranormal—by adding wizards, the historical dead, and other preternatural creatures. Drusilla Jaco—better known as DJ—is the sentinel in charge of keeping control of all the new pretes. Her partner is shapeshifter Alex Warin who provides the muscles (and violence) that aren't part of the repertoire of Green Congress wizards like DJ.

Their cases this time have to do with feuding mer people, dead wizards, and polluted river water. More and more preternaturals are finding a home in New Orleans and the surrounding area since the magical barriers fell with the flooding that Katrina brought. Now two clans of mer need DJ to settle where each can live (and keep them from killing each other.) She and Alex are also called in to determine if the dead body found nearby is human or supernatural. If it's human, the case will be turned over to the human police. If is is supernatural, the crime lands on Alex and DJ. They discover that the mutilated corpse belonged to a wizard who had put magic aside and was teaching biology at Tulane. His widow raises questions for DJ because, as an empath, she ought to be able to read her emotions but she can't. The final thread has to do with polluted river water that is making the mer sick and needs to be corrected before it starts involving humans.

Beyond the mystery, a lot of the story deals with DJ's relationships to a number of men in her life. She has conflicted feelings about her partner Alex. They have decided to be friends without benefits but she is getting different messages from Alex now. Then there is Jake, Alex's cousin, who has turned into a loup-garou. There was a possibility of a romance before that happened but now they need to decide if they can make the relationship go given that loup-garou have a tendency to lose control and go on killing sprees. Last on DJ's dance card is Jean Lafitte who is one of the historic dead. I like the way DJ is torn between relationships with each of them for different reasons and how each one fits into her life. 

The world building in this story is well-done and the setting is perfect for a paranormal. DJ is not a typical urban fantasy kick-ass heroine but she has her own strengths and talents and is a great character. All of her men are also hot in their own varied ways. I look forward to reading more adventures in DJ's future.

This book is the sequel to Royal Street but stands alone well. A third book in this series—Elysian Fields—will be released on August 13.

Favorite Quote:
People jog at dawn for a reason. If they wait, their brains will wake up ad convince them there are things they'd rather do. Like have oral surgery.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.


  1. I loved River Road!! and if you want more of Jean ( i love our dear pirate^^) you can read his novella for free on the author's blog^^ it's up until sunday then it will be sold on amazon ( but with a bonus)

    a really good way to wait until elysian fileds^^

  2. Each book in this series just gets better. Elysian Fields, book 3, releases soon. The novella Jackson Square is a fun read and the price is right, free at Preternatura. Really enjoyed Jean's story.

  3. This is a great series. Eagerly anticipating Elysian Fields. Check out Jean LaFitte's novellette. It is a lot of fun and free!


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