If you’ve ever walked the streets of New Orleans, you recognize that there is something beautiful and decadent and just plain eerie about the place. New Orleans is a city where you can feel the past walk beside you; its history creeps in between the cracks of its sidewalks and seeps along the alleyways of the French Quarter. It’s not just the age of the city, it’s the layers of the history, it seems as if its past never quite lays itself to rest.
New Orleans has become a setting of choice for tales of the paranormal ever since Anne Rice forced Daniel Malloy to sit down and listen to Louis’ recounting his story of life as a vampire in Interview with a Vampire. Louis’ home was a plantation outside New Orleans in 1790.
It’s entirely possible that Interview with a Vampire is responsible for both popularizing vampires as soulful, romantic heroes and fixing New Orleans in the mind as an eerie place to set such stories. Perhaps Louis and Lestat are Edward Cullen’s great-grand-vamp-parents?
Would you change the past to save someone you love? Would you be willing to look at some of the darkest and nastiest things in history’s past to save someone you love? Those are the questions being asked by Christopher Golden’s and Tim Lebbon’s very haunting tale, The Map of Moments, which is a magical time-traveling love story through New Orleans past (and extremely nasty) moments. It’s also a haunting look at the city post-Katrina.
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s huge and sprawling Were-Hunter/Dark-Hunter/Dream-Hunter series, features a group of ancient and immortal warriors who fight to protect mankind from the creatures and demons who prey on the innocent and those who protect them. Of course, their earthly headquarters are a bar in New Orleans, run by a family of were-bears. This series is paranormal romance at most otherworldly fun, and there’s a branch of it for every supernatural taste. Start with Night Embrace or Night Play and enjoy the ride!
Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series has more of an urban fantasy feel. There is definitely a romance, in fact it’s looking a lot like a romance-quadrangle, but the emphasis in the series is on solving the case in each individual book. The main character is DJ Jaco, a sentinel wizard in New Orleans (of course) who is responsible for policing the borders between New Orleans and Old Orleans, the ghostly city where the “historical undead” still “live” and make mischief. Not only can Louis Armstrong still cross over and play jazz, but the pirate Jean Lafitte has business enterprises both legal and illegal on both sides of the line and Marie Laveau is still casting spells in both realms. Poisons from the ghostly side make trouble on our side and it’s DJ’s job to keep everything in line while several factions chase her. All the books, Royal Street, River Road, and Elysian Fields, are named for streets in New Orleans, and it feels like you are there; often with something ghostly chasing you.