Reviewed by Tori
Fairy Containment and Control agent Annabelle Lee is back and has more trouble than ever. Her current boyfriend, Cade, has put their relationship on hold after catching her with her exboyfriend Hitch. Her gifts seem to be having some bad side effects that are only alleviated with a special drug. A drug that places her squarely in bed with the Big Man. Tucker, the Big Man’s gorgeous enforcer, can’t seem to make up his mind if he wants to kill Annabelle or sleep with her. When Hitch asks for Annabelle’s help in solving a murder mystery, she finds herself suddenly questioning everyone and everything she knows.
I love the unique premise of blood thirsty fae whose bite can kill over 95% of the population. Set in the steamy bayous of Louisiana, we are taken down a long treacherous path filled with murderous fae, unsettled ghosts, and government conspiracies. Annabelle Lee is an agent with Fairy Containment and Control. Basically she picks up samples of Fae droppings for study. Placed on suspension for her actions in the investigation into the murder of Grace Bauchamp, Annabelle has a lot of time on her hands. The events of the past three weeks have her rethinking the path her life is taking. Irresponsibility is Annabelle’s crutch she uses to support her drinking and drug use. She is trying to cut back but her relationship problems only seem to intensify the need to drown herself into obliteration. When Hitch contacts Annabelle about a murdered co worker and a secret government lab, Annabelle agrees to help and finds herself knee deep in a long reaching conspiracy. Who or what has authorized this lab and why? All the while, Annabelle’s gifts are expanding which leaves her in a quandary. The Fae are talking to her…and she can understand them. She needs to talk to someone about this but the BIg Man has made it perfectly clear-talk and you die.
Often you will come across a book with an appealing, addictive storyline, but whose characters leave you angry. That is how this series is for me. Action packed and filled with more twists and turns than a labyrinth, Blood On The Bayou continues its dark worldbuilding as it divulges deeper into the events surrounding the mutation that turned the normally gentle Fae into human hating predators. We see friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Relationships are tested and revelations are made that open new paths for this series to take. Dark humor engages the reader as we try to understand the mess that is Annabelle and her life.
There are three men in Annabelle’s life who all want something from her. Cane, her boyfriend, wants to settle down and have a family with her. Hitch, her ex boyfriend, wants what they had before a terrible event doomed their relationship;, even though he is engaged and expecting a baby with another woman. Tucker, the invisible man who supplies her with her much needed shots, wants to see where their attraction leads to. This is the part I find distasteful. Dysfunctional heroines aren’t a turnoff for me. Life can bomb you from all sides and it often leaves you bloody and broken on the side of the road. If a hero or heroine can rise above the turmoil that is their lives and make a concentrated effort to change then I am 100% invested in their life. While Annabelle is certainly trying to clean up her life, I find her actions in the area of her personal life distasteful. She seems to have no morals at all. Or, rather she has them, which we see from her internal thoughts, but she easily brushes them aside in a way that Scarlett O’ Hara would have been proud of. She has three men all wanting her yet for her it’s “complicated” and she uses that as an excuse to emotionally and physically cheat on them all. What I found over the top is she gets angry and feels betrayed when they may or may not be doing the same thing. Which of course she then uses to justify to herself and us why her cheating and lies are excusable. I didn’t really see much character development from any of them. Cade stays in the background as usual. Hitch still teeters between fiancée and Annabelle and Ms. Jay uses a predictable subplot resolution that absolves them of any guilt for messing around. Tucker’s feelings are new and not much reasoning is offered to WHY he is suddenly looking for HEA with Annabelle but my feeling is that it’s not all for the sake of true love.
Another subplot that threw me off was Deedee, an orphan who adores Annabelle. I don’t want to give anything away but lets just say that Annabelle can’t seem to take care of her cat, why would anyone think she could care for a kid? Throughout the book Ms. Jay keeps trying to make Annabelle grow up and accept responsibility in ways that felt forced. We also get to see more of her best friend Fern whose attitude and actions would have had me bitch slapping him all the way to Alabama. Best friends are allowed more leeway than regular friends but when they become a self righteous prig, it’s time to cut them loose.
The main conflict is a convoluted mystery that requires careful attention. Dangerous pitfalls litter the way as we follow the clues. Ms Jay carefully exposes key players in dramatic fashion that left me confused in respect to some revelations revealed. The plot wraps itself up fast and furious in an acceptable fashion though leaves much open in preparation for book three. While I could have overcome, or at least overlooked, my objections to Annabelle’s behavior in certain areas in order to continue with the arc, the epilogue crushed that. What happens in there pretty much solidifies my dislike of Annabelle.
While I’m sure this series will continue to appeal to those who love an action packed dark Urban Fantasy, I’m afraid that Annabelle Lee and I will be parting ways here.
Overall Rating: D