Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wild Jinx by Sandra Hill ****

This is Tee-John LeDeux's story - apparently fans have been following John from the first Cajun series, waiting for his "thunderbolt of love" to strike, and now that he's 28, it's time.

And when he meets up with a former acquaintance, also a former one-drunken-night-stand, it seems she might be the one. Celine Arseneaux might just fit the bill Tante Lulu has for John - a good Cajun woman, ok, 3/4 Cajun. But why doesn't she have a Cajun accent?

Celine grew up somewhere else, hence no Cajun accent, and came to live with her grandfather at 15 after her parents' deaths. She went to both high school and college (Tulane) with John, who was 2 years older. Their night-o-drunken-love happened a little over 5 years ago, while in college.

And it's not a coincidence that there's her son, Etienne, who is, uh, 5 years old. Yep - the ol' Secret Baby plot. It seems Grandfather Arseneaux hated John's alcoholic, abusive father and would only agree to help Celine raise her child if she promised never to tell John.

John and Celine meet up again in, of all things, a brothel for both women and men - Celine is there as a reporter looking for a story, and John is there undercover, a police detective from the fictional Fontaine, Louisiana, police department, about to bust a Mafia money-laundering whorehouse.

After the bust, to keep his identity and location as a witness secret, he joins the Jinx team, which has been hired by Tante Lulu to find pirate Jean Lafitte's treasure somewhere near his brother's property on the bayou out in the middle of nowhere - a plane ride or a couple days pirogue ride away. Celine is also sent there by her paper for a scoop on the pirate's treasure story - and is sorta hijacked into staying for a week, allowed to stay only if she promises not to reveal John's whereabouts.

I enjoyed reading it, now that I'm a little more accustomed to author Hill's style and humor and way-over-the-topness. Tante Lulu is now in her 90s and going strong - she stays on at the camp to oversee the treasure hunt, and keeps them all fed on jambalaya and gumbo and poboys. She manuevers John and Celine into some alone-time, which they take advantage of. But while they're alone, Lulu goes through Celine's purse, looking for some aspirin, and finds photos of Etienne, who is the spitting image of his father. Thinking at first that John just abandoned his child, she is angry at John - meanwhile he doesn't have a clue, since he did use a condom so never suspected.

I found Celine a little hard to like, truth be told. First off, the Secret Baby thing - and her acting like John was an asshole over it! I thought she was pretty unreasonable about a lot of things. Of course, I've only read the Jinx trilogy, so I don't have all the Tee-John history, but he's likable if a little wild. So I went with 4 stars for this book - maybe more like 3.75, but I round up.

Only 5 more days til 2009, when I can finally read more series for the Serial Challenge!! I just couldn't wait - most of my books seem to be in series right now, so what's a reader to do? Well, I decided to have this book be my Pirate book - after all, it does have Jean Lafitte's treasure! and they talk about Pirates of the Caribbean and Johnny Depp, and there's a Pirate Ball!


Cindy W said...

The first can't come quick enough!

Heather's Books said...

I felt the same way about Claire, it took me a long time to warm up to her.