Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson is a good, fast, fun read. It is the first book in a planned series and is Suzanne’s first novel. The setting of the story is New Orleans just before hurricane Katrina hit and for a few days after. We meet Drusilla Jaco–the junior sentinel for New Orleans. As we go though the book, we gradually learn that one of the jobs for wizards is to keep control of the borders between this world and the Beyond. The Beyond is where most creatures we think of as supernatural dwell. We first meet Dru as she is exchanging barbs (speaking and physical) with the manifestation of the pirate Jean Lafitte. She has been assigned to deal with him by her mentor and guardian, Gerry–the senior sentinel for New Orleans.
When the hurricane strikes, it weakens the barriers to the Beyond and Gerry vanishes. Dru is left with the task of trying to contain the incursions from the beyond and to locate her now missing mentor. Things start to heat up with a series of “voodoo murders”, troublesome incursions from the Beyond and a somewhat unwelcome partner she has been assigned by the Elders (wizards in charge).
I enjoyed the world, magic system and the character of Dru quite a bit. There are some tantalizing things to find out about Dru. Suzanne does an excellent job portraying post-Katrina New Orleans and the heartbreak for its residents. I was a bit ambivalent about some developing love interests, but that is probably more a reflection of my general taste than any particular problem. Overall, I was quite happy with the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes the Urban Fantasy sort of genre.