Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

I finished this novel as Hurricane Isaac made landfall, which seemed appropriate. Royal Street takes place in New Orleans during the hours, days, and weeks immediately following Katrina. The storm and levee breaks have damaged not only the physical landscape, but the barriers that hold back the Beyond, the realm of the preternatural creatures such as the fae, the vampires, and the historical undead (those who are dead but so well loved/hated/revered/remembered that they have the power to live on). Normally sentinels, guardian wizards, would be hard at work repairing the breaches and sending the pretes back to the Beyond, but most evacuated. Gerald St. Simon, the head sentinel who stayed behind, is missing - and the Elders believe that it's not death, but betrayal that has Gerry off the map. Drusilla “DJ” Jaco, his ward and junior sentinel, is charged with returning to New Orleans and finding Gerry, or his body, and bringing him back. Helping her, whether she wants him to or not, is a sexy Enforcer, Alex, who tends to shoot first and ask questions later. There's also a voodoo-style serial killer on the loose in New Orleans, and one of his marks has turned up on DJ's doorstep. Oh, and the dead pirate Jean Lafitte is stalking her to avenge his last banishment to the Beyond...and he's brought friends.

There's a lot going on in this novel, but what impressed me was that not only did Johnson manage to juggle these plot threads, she deftly wove them together in such a manner that they came together into a cohesive tale of mystery, magic and family secrets. There is romance here, but it’s not the focus, so I wouldn’t classify it as such. Still, because of the style of writing and character development, I highly recommend this novel to fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romantic fiction. 

~Heather C.