by Suzanne Johnson
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765327802
Date: 13 November 2012 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
New Orleans is recovering from Katrina, but it's going to be a long slow process and the damage is still evident in boarded up and empty buildings and the visible and invisible damage. Drucilla 'DJ' Jaco is partnered with Alex Warin as sentinel of the New Orleans region and since the barriers are down there has been a lot of species moving from Beyond to the current city. Alex and DJ have developed a pretty good working relationship though he's much better at the paperwork.
When DJ meets with Jean Lafitte, she learns that there are mer people living in Plaquemines Parish and two clans are ready to go to war as each believes the other is poisoning the water. DJ and Alex go out to meet the leaders of each clan and to investigate the site of the poison water and find a body. Further checking discovers that there is another body or injured person in the marsh and this may or may not be connected to the poisoned water.
Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it sounds. DJ is quickly learning that the Council of Elders seem to have large holes in their knowledge base and she's mostly on her own. As she learns information and reports it -- she's either ignored or treated as an ignorant child. What she's getting out of her new position is the feeling that she's going to need to stop relying on the Elder's knowledge base and trust her own instincts.
There's some follow up with the people and events of Royal Street. DJ and Alex have decided that they need to keep on a friends only basis if they are going to work together. Once Jake gets back in touch, Alex seems to want to change that friends only rule.
In River Road, readers learn more about the world that DJ lives in, which is much like our own only with magic and many of the creatures of fantasy and nightmares. New Orleans has always been the city of music, food, and mystery and Johnson brings it alive in all its beauty as well as its dark underbelly. These books are as much a sensual delight as they are a good well-crafted story.
I for one, look forward to the next installment because the series so far is getting better with each book.