Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: Book One in the Sentinels of New Orleans Series
Published: April 10, 2010 by Tor Books
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.
Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.
While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.
To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis' birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.
Publisher Page: http://us.macmillan.com/author/suzannejohnson
Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2 Suzanne Johnson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Cover Artist: Cliff Neilson
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 something—or someone—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 series continues.
The Mating Game: DJ Rates the Guys of the Sentinels of New Orleans
Sorry, author Suzanne Johnson didn’t show up today. She sent me instead.
My name is DJ Jaco. Only my annoying neighbor calls me “Dru,” short for Drusilla, and I’m going to whack him one if he doesn’t stop it. I’m a wizard—not the most powerful one on the block, but I’m improving. Until a few years ago, when Hurricane Katrina sent my world into freefall, I’d led a sheltered life. I was home-schooled in wizardry and my odd skills from having elves somewhere back in the gene pool. I didn’t have much of a social life since wizards are, in general, jerks, and humans don’t know we exist. Then, when the hurricane tore down the borders between the modern city and the preternatural world beyond, everything changed.
Imagine this: a grumpy shapeshifter, a merman, a rogue werewolf with control issues, an undead 200-year-old French pirate, and a pretty guy of some mysterious (and non-human) origin walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right?
Welcome to my life. For a girl who didn’t have any dating prospects a few years ago, I have a wealth of options these days. If only one of them, just one, was kind of…you know…normal. Here’s how I see it.
Alexander Warin, aka Alex, is a hulking brute of a shifter. Six-three of muscles with long lashes framing eyes the color of Hershey’s finest, he’s a chick magnet and he knows it. He’s also prone to be monosyllabic when he’s focused or annoyed (often), stubborn when he thinks he’s right (more often), and bossy (always). He sees the world in black and white, and the shades of gray that surround my life drive him nuts. Oh, and did I mention he’s my partner in monitoring the borders between New Orleans and the Beyond? Even I know smart women don’t bonk their business partners. But did I mention those eyes? And that beneath all the macho crap he’s really a more-than-decent guy? On the desirability scale, Alex gets a 9 out of 10, hindered only by his utter obsession with weaponry. (Just wait and see what he does with a nail gun in Elysian Fields. OMG.)
Jacob Warin, aka Jake, is Alex’s cousin. Jake and I have had a flirtation going since Katrina, but things have changed a lot since then. Both of us have changed a lot since then. Jake was a laid-back Marine Corps vet with a sweetness about him that drew me to him immediately. He has sun-streaked blond hair, amber eyes, dimples to drown in, and a soft, sexy Mississippi drawl. Well, okay he also has a dark side, and it has been coming out more often and he seems to be less in control of it. Jake owns the Green Gator, a French Quarter bar, but has recently been working with Alex on preternatural investigations. On the desirability scale, Jake got a 9 before Katrina, with a slight deduction for being human and not knowing anything about the paranormal world. Now, he’s dropped to a seven because, well, I’m a little afraid of that dark side of him. I don’t want to be. I’m working on it. But there it is.
Jean Lafitte. Ah, the pirate (he might call himself a privateer, but to me, the man was a pirate). Jean is the bad boy we all want. He’s six-foot-two inches of sexy, with cobalt-blue eyes and
shaggy dark hair. Did I mention the French accent? Ooh-la-la. He’s also about 230 years old and a member of the Historical Undead, famous people given immortality through the magic of human memory. As long as people remember them, they live on. And as Jean will be quick to tell you, he is quite unforgettable. He’s also ruthless, too smart for his own good, and cunning—he’s always looking for the angle or advantage in a situation. On a desirability scale, Jean gets an 7. He’s sexy as sin and he knows I think he’s hot, but I don’t quite trust him and, mostly, I can’t quite get past that “technically dead” thing. But the pirate is persistent…
Rene Delachaise is a Cajun merman. He’s blunt-spoken, adventurous, can be a tad on the cranky side, and won’t back down in a fight. He makes a great backup, and we’re becoming good friends. Rene’s got his own sex appeal—like most mers, he’s not too tall, about 5-9, but he has dark, liquid eyes you could drown in and enough body art to keep you busy looking for a long time. (Ask him about his bottle-nosed dolphin tattoo, but be prepared for him to show it to you, which might involve pants removal.) On the desirability scale, I’ll give Rene a 6. He’s becoming a good friend and, like Alex, I don’t have so many friends that I’ll screw one up by a romantic entanglement.
Quince Randolph is only in this list because, technically, he’s male and he doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, despite my best attempts to get rid of him. He recently opened a nursery and landscaping business, Plantasy Island, across the street from me in New Orleans. My best friend Eugenie is dating Rand, and thinks he is something else. I know he’s something else, as in not human; I just can’t figure out what. And talk about Mr. Creepy-pants. Oh, don’t get me wrong. He’s pretty—talk and built like a swimmer, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. Shoulder-length blond hair. Eyes a rich, vibrant blue-green. On the desirability scale, I’d give Rand a 9 if he were walking down the street and I’d never met him. Once Mr. Creepy came out to play, that number dives to about a negative four. And why-oh-why if he’s dating Eugenie does he seem obsessed with me? Finding the answer to that is next on my to-do list.
So, what do you think? Who’s the keeper out of the lot? Or am I better off staying home with my surly Siamese named Sebastian?
Cast a vote for DJ’s best potential suitor to win a copy of Royal Street or River Road, or an author swag bag! International entries welcome.