Hellbent and Heartfirst
Tor, Apr 2008, $6.99
Anthropology Professor Jacyn Boaz takes a leave of absence from her teaching position at the University of Texas in Austin. Jacyn feels it is important to volunteer in her hometown so she has agreed to help Oxfam in Biloxi, Mississippi cleaning up from Katrina.
Jacyn meets self-proclaimed magic guru Jimmy Wayne Broadus, a beer guzzling barbeque dining, guitar-playing Texan. The hunk insists he is searching for a deadly child-eating lamia attacking the bone weary survivors of Katrina especially the homeless refugees. To their mutual surprise, they are attracted to one another and soon after meeting Jaclyn and Jimmy Wayne make love. However, he continues with his quest traveling to La Batre, Alabama to consult with a voodoo warlock and a witch in order to understand what he must do to destroy the lamia. To his delight Jacyn joins him on the hunt.
This is an interesting and unusual romantic fantasy that provides a unique fresh look at the aftermath of Katrina as the Gulf Coast turns into a massive third world refugee encampment filled with haunted people wondering how their lives were washed away leaving them adrift in trailers. The lead couple is also an odd pairing that works as each finds something they desperately need in the other; she a sense of purpose and he a grounding. Although the shifting geography makes for abrupt changes, fans will enjoy the escapades of the two Js as they battle evil whether it is a cursed necklace or the Lamia as their way to help the Katrina victims.