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WesternSFA
River Road
by Suzanne Johnson
Tor Books, $24.99, 332pp
Release Date: November 13, 2012

This story is a follow-on story to the author’s debut novel “ Royal Street .” I don’t get a sense that it’s a sequel – as in continuing an unresolved storyline – except for the characters and their relationships. The story stands on its own and I never felt I was missing anything by not having read the first book.

The protagonist, Drusilla Jaco, is a wizard working in the New Orleans area post-Katrina. She’s been tagged to investigate allegations that a mer clan is poisoning the waterways. The allegation was brought by a rival merpeople clan. She’s assisted by her FBI partner, Alex. Also cluttering up her personal landscape is an ex-boyfriend turned loup garou, Jake, and her undead paramour, the pirate Jean Lafitte.

The job is to figure out who opened up a rift between the River Styx and the Mississippi River which is poisoning both supernaturals who live on the river and humans. And figure it out before the humans start their own investigation. It’s a pretty standard mystery story.

In addition to the mystery storyline, there is a great deal of sex and romance. Drusilla and Jake, Drusilla and undead pirate, and, of course, Drusilla and hunky he’s-just-my-partner Alex. That seems to be a staple these days. And if you like that sort of thing, this will be an enjoyable read. It wasn’t a bad piece of writing, the plot was well laid out, the characters were okay – except we don’t get much from Jean. I just didn’t find the story that compelling. ~~ Catherine Book

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