Author: Hailey Edwards
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: 31 October 2017
Rating: 4 stars
‘The urge to pat him came out of nowhere. One did not pat grown men in praise for learning a new trick.’
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
This book is a mystery, thriller all wrapped up in an urban fantasy bow. Bayou Born follows the story of strange wild child who was found in the swampy bayou of Canton, Mississippi. She had no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings; swirls of metal bands embedded into her skin. The policeman, Edward Boudreau, who rescued her, adopts her. 15 years later Luce follows in the footsteps of her beloved father and joins the police force determined to prove her worth and distance herself from her controversial past.
Luce and her partner, Rixton, are working on finding missing girl, Angel Claremont, when there’s a call about a body in the swamp. On arrival they discover this isn’t the girl they were looking for because of the strange markings on her skin. Markings that match Luce’s own. A freelance security group called The White Horse show up on the scene to help. They’ve been hired by Angel’s parents to help with the rescue effort. The security group stays to help fish out the unconscious Jane Doe. Hope blooms within Luce. Maybe this is her chance to find out about her past, a chance to learn about her markings and her family. From here the story unfolds with Luce trying to find the missing girl and helping Jane Doe. However, there’s more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one – including Luce herself – could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny.
This was a fantastic start to a new series. The world building was amazing. I really enjoyed that we got to spend time with Luce and get to know the cases she’s working on before the fantastical elements kicked in. It was like the more Luce unraveled in the case the more it became obvious that it wasn’t the work of a regular person. The magic elements went in a direction that I did not expect but I super glad they did. I haven’t read many books like it.
I love seeing the relationship Luce had formed and how different they were. I also adore that a female friendship, between Luce and schoolteacher, Maggie, was at the heart of this novel. These relationships are hugely important to see especially given the bullying and ostracised nature of how the other people in Canton treat her.
Luce herself is a well-crafted character. Yes she is snarky and gives off a vibe of apathy but that’s not all. We see just how much she does care through her relentless word effort. She wants to fit it so much, despite what she may say, that she join a career where the staff take care of one another. Her humor is darkly funny and at time self-deprecating which again is another layer to keep her from being venerable. I found her highly relatable.
I cannot wait for the second book! So many questions left unsaid. Highly recommend for any urban fantasy fan out there.