4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Review copy provided by NetGalley
About three weeks have past since the conclusion of the second story, River Road, and our heroine, DJ finds herself in a busy routine helping to solve paranormal crimes. Although during the previous book she considered trying to reignite some of the passion she shared with Jake before his loup-garou infection, she notes there is now a distance between the pair and his wolf is dangerously close to the surface all of the time. Meanwhile, her feelings for long-time partner and friend, Alex, have started to grow and develop into more.
The book opens with the team investigating a set of gruesome murders that appear to be the handy work of long dead, infamous mass murderer, “The Axeman.” Much to DJ’s dismay, she discovers that the murders are in fact the work of the original Axeman, returning to New Orleans as one of the historical undead. What makes it even more frightening is that it appears the Axeman’s true target may be DJ herself.
Elysian Fields bursts open with intense action and tension right from the get go. Not only is there a horrible crime spree to stop, but with DJ the apparent next target, the intensity is ratcheted up quite a bit. However, there is so much more to the story than solving the crime. DJ’s personal life spirals out of control on so many fronts.
First there is her relationship with Jake. She feels a bit of guilt, I think, with respect to his loup-garou infection. She feels responsible for him, and wants him to be “all better.” Unfortunately, her methods aren’t working, and something happens that puts Jake, Alex and DJ at risk. This event and the resulting actions give the first half of the book an edge of suspense that kept me glued to my Kindle.
Weaving his way into DJ’s life in a big way is her strange new neighbor (and her BFF’s boyfriend), Quince Randolph (aka Rand). Introduced in the previous book, Rand gave off vibes (or rather the lack of vibes) that DJ knew him to be something other than human. DJ resents that he is forcing her to lie to her best friend, a human, Eugenie. The entire web of relationships is stretched and even torn as Rand’s true nature comes to light, and DJ is forced to make some big decisions that will impact not only her own life, but those closest to her.
Then there is Alex... at the end of River Road, he planted a kiss on DJ that made her toes curl. In Elysian Fields, the pair explore their growing mutual attraction and the implications of being more than friends. I adore the couple and am thankful for the direction the author is taking. It’s not going to be a walk in the park for the pair, and the fact that they openly acknowledge and discuss this adds wonderful dimension to the overall story.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our favorite historical undead, Jean Lafitte, who once again attempts to charm the pants of DJ (literally!). Jean adds humor and light-heartedness to an otherwise mostly dark tale. Yet, he can be serious, and I give the privateer props for the nobel decisions he makes during this tale.
I liked how all of my favorite (and not so favorite) characters each had important roles to play throughout the tale. I felt each character’s role was well-placed and necessary, with the exception of the Axeman. He is the center of the murders, and although he has some great face time, I was a little disappointed at how things ended with his role. Rather, I feel that he was just sort of left in limbo after his primary role was completed. I would have liked to find out a little more about him and what happened.
What made the book extra wonderful for me was the ending. No spoilers, but I was very pleased with the direction it took. DJ has had a rough time over the past few months, and I felt like she got a little break there in the end. Of course, there are a few significant unfinished bits that will bleed into the next book and most likely create a whole lot of drama for DJ. She’s creating some powerful enemies, and the outfall from some of the actions in Elysian Fields will not be pretty for her. But, isn’t that why we read these books?!
Overall, I really enjoyed Elysian Fields. The story was well written with plenty of action and adventure. Details were described with amazing clarity, bringing to life post-Katrina New Orleans. The author does a wonderful job with the overall story arc progression, and DJ’s personal growth is what gives the book tremendous heart. I adore that DJ fought through her demons and came out still (mostly) intact. In addition, the engrossing side-stories will impact DJ in ways we cannot yet see. Elysian Fields is an excellent addition to the Sentinels of New Orleans series.