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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Just Off Elysian Fields is a work of fiction in the thriller, suspense, and mystery subgenres. It is intended for the mature reading audience owing to graphic scenes of violence, sexual situations, and the use of explicit language throughout, and was penned by author Woodlief Thomas. In this chilling drama filled with pathos, tragedy, and intrigue, we travel to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Antoine is a thirtysomething ex-con looking to put his life back together, who is tasked with finding Maybelle, the daughter of a dying friend. On his quest to seek her out, the two must face the darkness of their own past as well as a dangerous new figure named DeSoto.
I adore dramas with plenty of grit and darkness, and author Woodlief Thomas knows how to deliver that for a mature audience that is looking to explore some hard emotions and the harsher side of life. Antoine makes for a highly relatable anti-hero who is rough around the edges, but loyal where it counts and determined to fulfill his vow at any cost. The plot mirrors an age-old epic quest, but set against the backdrop of a post-Katrina South, the social, economic, and cultural issues of the time hit home hard and help us understand what both Antoine and Maybelle are going through. I also really enjoyed the presentation of dialogue, which characterized New Orleans wonderfully and helped the characters leap off the pages. Overall, Just Off Elysian Fields is a superb thriller novel that is not to be missed.