Who can keep up with Roland D Yeomans? In the last few months he has self published 11, yes, 11 e-books. Roland's lyrical prose and dark plots are amazing. I'd like to read and review all his books, but unless I put everything else on hold it's an impossibility. So I've been slow to read French Quarter Nocturne, but once I'd re-started it (I'd begun it some months ago) I was hooked into the story, which is the way it should be if the writing's good.
I've always been fascinated by this particular part of the States - New Orleans and the South in general. When Hurricane Katrina struck, I was dumbfounded at her fury and dumbfounded at how long it seemed to take to get help to these suffering citizens. Who knew what was going on in the Convention Centre? Obviously Roland's Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord knew exactly what was happening...
In Roland's synopsis he describes French Quarter Nocturne thus:
Hurricane Katrina has cast New Orleans into darkness. Predators, living and undead, close in on the helpless survivors. Can Samuel McCord and a vampire priest keep the French Quarter from being drowned in blood?
French Quarter Nocturne is set during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, which devastated the proud, unique and unfortunately low-lying city of New Orleans. People struggled with what was happening in the wake of this disaster. How could they make sense of it? How could they come to terms with the horror?
Dark elements are abroad on the mean streets of New Orleans. The music is of a much darker cast in the jazz club Meilori's which has shimmered into life on Royal Street. Here it is a Crossroads of Worlds. Monsters are stalking the streets. Ghosts and vampires are abroad in an attempt to provide leadership in a leader-less city, to bring at least a semblance of order out of the mayhem and destruction that has occured. There are normal reptiles slithering around in the dingy waters but they don't pose much of a threat. Far worse than snakes, the chaos in New Orleans has given the European revenants a one-off chance to establish a beachhead in America. Worse yet, McCord's life-long enemy, DayStar, is plotting in the shadows.
Who can step up into the void?
Against the backdrop of Katrina's aftermath, an agnostic jazz club owner and his best friend, a haunted priest, engage enemies in the shadows that challenge both their belief systems. Sam McCord, a Texas Ranger, is trapped in a nether world with those who cannot cross over to the other side. McCord is a hero in his own right, but all the same he has personal issues that often tug at his heartstrings. But it is the memory of one woman, Meilori, that never leaves him, that dogs his footsteps. Even in the murder and mayhem and lawlessness of post-Katrina, Sam never allows that others should commit atrocities. But is Sam McCord an innocent? Does he ever do the 'wrong' thing when dire need comes calling?
The French Quarter Noctune is a fantastic read, and you get used to bizarre instances where persons from mythological tales take centre stage. We meet famous writers from the past, too, all adding gloss to the many-layered story. But I warnyou, if you must read it at night at least keep the light on.
If you've read any of Roland's books, you may be interested in:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it,
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SEPTEMBER 1ST is the draw date.
A change of pace from the past books I've been reading. While I Am Now A Serial Killer has a teen main character, it's not what I would call a young adult novel. Plus the character is a boy instead of a girl, so that makes it different than most of the books I've read over the last couple of months. It was a nice break, to have a more ambiguous (to put it lightly) main character.
He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.
He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.
Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.
Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.
Overall: this was a really good book. As much as I thought I might like the story, it was even better. Having the young male character be a less than moral teenager was perfect and I loved having a character where I couldn't tell if the bad guy would be stopped or if the main character would be able to stop himself. And the action starts right away. There isn't too much reflection or whining over past things like his father leaving, it gets mentioned then the story moves on. Everything felt like it had a purpose. The only part that had me question was when John first decided he had to go after the antagonist himself, that it must be him. I paused to wonder what brought him to that conclusion but it was a minor pause. I couldn't wait to finish reading the book.
Characters: The main character, John, is a troubled teen and he knows it. Growing up around a mortuary and even helping out with the bodies makes for an interesting setting to what becomes an intriguing character. If anyone wants to write an anti-hero or any hero that is questionable in reader acceptance, John would be a good example. He isn't good but readers will still want to root for him. All of the other characters, from his mother, the other kids and the therapist, all worked towards moving the story forward.
I am looking forward to reading the next book already. Judging by the next titles, there is more troubled times ahead and who knows what John will do next.
Guest Review by Ashlee Burke
Gayle Forman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and is someone who I will constantly be checking for new titles. Where She Went is a sequel to her devastatingly beautiful debut novel: If I Stay. I will be referencing If I stay several times because they are definitely not stand alone novels. You need to read the first book to understand what is happening in the second. (If I Stay on Goodreads)
Goodreads on Where She Went: It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other. Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
Despite the title this sequel is not a philosophical book about where Mia was in the first novel. It does not address if she was in heaven or having an out of body experience and her experience is in fact not even addressed until later in the book. Where She Went is a reference of Adam’s perspective. It’s a question of his loss. What makes the sequel very interesting (and what makes it work for me) is that even though this novel is in a different characters point of view than the first novel it is just as personal and relatable. That in itself is what I think is the major accomplishment of these novels. They are able to make you relate to situations that are normally very hard to relate to: a devastating loss in If I Stay and life crippling fame in Where She Went. Where She Went also addresses the ripple of devastation a single loss can create.
Loss affects everyone in very different ways and sometimes the people who are not immediately related to those who are gone have their pain pushed aside and overlooked even though they are suffering along with the immediate family. As I mentioned Where She Went is not a reference to where Mia went in If I Stay. Mia left Adam and it becomes clear throughout the novel that Adam has no idea where this very important person in his life was and why she was no longer there for him when he felt he had always been there for her.
As I mentioned before the fact that I found this novel to be very relatable was a major accomplishment because the Adam you find in Where She Went is a very different Adam from that in If I Stay. In If I stay Adam is the dedicated boyfriend who loves music and is willing to sacrifice anything for Mia. The Adam in Where She Went is an apathetic famous musician who now finds music a burden on his life and cannot find happiness in anything that he has been given. On the surface he is not a very relatable character. He is constantly complaining about the problems fame has brought to his life and in the beginning I was wondering how this book would even connect with the first one because the first novel had such heart even in the face of great loss. Adam it seemed was just a whiny little boy. It isn’t until you begin to realize how much Adam himself lost that you see that his problems do not stem from fame and he becomes a completely different character without changing his narrative all that much.
Mia herself has changed but not so much that she becomes a different character. When we meet up with her she is doing what she loves: performing. She has graduated from Julliard and is preparing to fly to Japan for the first performance of her tour. It is interesting that while it becomes apparent that she completely cut Adam out of her life she continues to surround herself with the pictures and memories of those who she did not choose to lose. It is not until the end that you are shown why she left Adam. It is a powerful revealing and the strongest reference to the first novel. Which makes sense because If I Stay is Mia’s story where as Where She Went belongs solely to Adam. Overall I cannot recommend this book enough especially to the contemporary young adult readers out there.