Elysian Fields (Sentinels of New Orleans #3)
Tor / August 13, 2013 / $25.99 print, $12.99 digital
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 spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor 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 maneuvers 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.
Elysian Fields begins a few weeks after the events in River Road, the second book in Suzanne Johnson's Sentinels of New Orleans series, and the book's protagonist, Drusilla Jaco (DJ), is still recovering from the wounds she received battling an insane nymph. When she is called to the scene of a brutal murder, she discovers that a serial killer, known as the Axeman who terrorized New Orleans back in the early 1900’s, has come back from the dead to reign hell on the mortal realm. Further investigations reveal that an unknown necromancer summoned the Axeman and he is gunning for D.J. If DJ’s life wasn’t dangerous enough, she finds herself caught in the middle of a political disaster when the Elven Synod demands access to D.J. that could spell the end of DJ’s career... and her life.
“...my everything is at risk.”
Ms. Johnson’s engaging paranormal urban fantasy series effectively bridges the supernatural with the mundane. Set in an alternate New Orleans, supernaturals intermingle with humans, though most humans aren’t conscious of this. The series centers around Drucilla Jaco, a junior wizard who stands as one of the sentinels charged with the job of standing guard over the supernatural borders in New Orleans. Placed in her position through circumstance, DJ is still in the process of learning to control her powers. The series follows her through her life as she investigates supernatural affairs and deals with the inevitable chaos that seems to mock her every step.
“I’m a chaos junkie...”
Ms. Johnson’s wonderful voice elevates the common enough urban fantasy theme of an average person fighting for justice. An engaging mixture of unpredictability keeps you surprised with each new development. The story reads fast and easy, even as you twist and turn with each new development. The plot and multiple subplots build slowly throughout, each adding intrigue and suspense as the tension spirals, exploding in a dramatic ending that leaves you satisfied yet ready for more.
Though the first two books seemed more conflict based, this installment most certainly revolved around the main character, DJ. DJ has a lot on her plate this go-around—a supernatural serial killer, her elven heritage, and four men who all want a piece of her, though she’s unsure exactly what pieces they want.
Alex Warin, her former mentor and now partner, has been with D.J. from the beginning. The sexual tension between them has burned bright for years, though both of them fear what will happen if it flares into passion. Alex also has a problem with all the problems that seem to follow DJ. Trouble would find her in a solid room with no windows or doors. His need for order and control is constantly tested by DJ.’s ‘jump first ask questions later’ attitude.
“Did it ever occur to you to that you might want to talk to me before making a decision like that? Did it not even pass through your mind that you’re not the only one this affects? Jesus.”
Jake, Alex’s cousin, has always been attracted to DJ and even tried to court her until he was bitten and turned loup-garou (a rogue werewolf). Unable to control his wolf, Jake pushes DJ away for her own safety but the attraction still exists.
Next in line is the unknown entity—Quince Randolph (Rand). Though in a relationship with DJ’s best friend, Eugenia, his actions show a marked preference to DJ, much to her dismay. While physically attracted to Rand, DJ feels there is something off with him and knows he’s not being honest with the reasons he’s there. Certain scenes prove that later in the book and DJ learns the hard way that asking question first and going with your gut is always your best option.
“I had never felt so violated [...] I’m never going to forgive you for this. Never.”
Last, but certainly not least, we have the sexy undead pirate, Jean Lafitte. Lavish with the sexual innuendos, Jean and DJ’s relationship is probably the most honest one she has in here. Though their relationship started on a bad note (he assaulted her when they first met), he has gradually proven himself to be a true friend who genuinely cares for DJ’s well being. Charming, flirtatious, and occasionally smarmy, Jean is always there for her in some fashion or form. Not to say he wouldn't use her to advance his own agendas, but he’s honest in his duplicity. Their emotional bond is the strongest in this series and helps to balance the uneasy romantic threads that wind their way through the storyline.
”I cannot stop this, Jolie. You must save us both.”
Ms. Johnson continues to build upon this series, using a real world base and filling it with magic and realism. Her characters aren’t omnipotent. They are neither invincible nor infallible. They evolve with each installment, expanding the boundaries that Ms. Johnson originally set forth for them. The Sentinels of New Orleans continues to be a unique addition to the Urban Fantasy genre.
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