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Crescent City #1

The City of Lost Fortunes

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The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human. Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show what it means to be his father’s son.

367 pages, Hardcover

First published April 17, 2018

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Bryan Camp

6 books125 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 366 reviews
Profile Image for carol..
1,575 reviews8,231 followers
June 8, 2018
The City of Lost Fortunes has an intriguing premise. Set in New Orleans post-Katrina, it's about the son of a magician finding his way when the local magical authority needs a job done. There's a lot to enjoy, but it feels like a story that could use editing with an eye to overall pacing.

The writing is descriptive and evocative. The underlying premise of a card game with high stakes is intriguing. Camp seems to be a writer in love with writing, with crafting each sentence with an eye towards building a crystal-clear image. While this can be a fabulous, and indeed desirable skill, in this case description careens out of control. I know, I know; I'm the same person that complained about Morning taking more time to describe a skirt than a door in Darkfever. But it is possible to over-describe, particularly if it is coupled with a lack of action. Let me illustrate, as the protagonist makes it past an obstacle and approaches the house:

"Jude rose to his feet and stepped onto the rot-wood porch, hesitating for only a moment before reaching for the knob. The handle turned, but the door, swollen into its frame, refused to budge. Jude put his shoulder into it and went sprawling into a dark, cramped space filled with cobwebs and the musty, nose-tickling stink of mold. Inside, entropy had long been at work, leaving behind crumbling Sheetrock and exposed brick, years of grime and dust. Jude stood in a long hallway, barely able to make out the outline of a door at the far end. When he reached it, doing his best to ignore the scuttling shapes amid the debris on the floor, he saw that it had been painted, recently, with bright red paint. He pulled it open, his pulse thundering in his ears."

That is by no means an unusual example; that much detail is used for both significant and insignificant details. I was left with an impression of one active verb per sentence. For instance, though the prior sentence contains a plethora of verbs, it is followed with two paragraphs describing the room and the occupants, while in the third, Jude finally "stepped inside" and "studied." This is followed by a description of Jude's reaction to what he is seeing.

Each chapter begins with a entry about a certain story time; creation myths, Tricksters, and draws parallels across traditions. The writing is flowery, beautiful and, dare I say it, virtually pointless.

I think I'm only partially a visual person reader; growing up on mysteries, myths, fairy tales, and a total lack of Brandon Sanderson, means I learned to focus on plot. Eventually my stories also had character development beyond the 'orphan embracing heroic destiny.' While Camp attempts to integrate Jude's self discovery into the story, it feels more like abrupt change in personality. For the most part we are hearing what Jude says about himself, not seeing how he actually acts. His flashbacks, for instance, are like someone at a party telling a story, not reliving a scene, so it feels somewhat unreliable although the scene is described with clarity. You know, when that person says, "I used to be like that, but now I'm not," and you think, 'uh, I disagree,' but keep your mouth shut to wait for the proof.

So. Interesting story but with a somewhat confusing framework and plot that is not made more clear by the variety of myths and traditions. However, a number of immediate conflicts keep momentum until Jude's predicament becomes more obvious. For me, the last third was very engaging, but I was close to putting it down a couple of times between 25-50%, I think. I just don't need the scene described so completely to enter a story, and it started to seem pointless to read if I was only looking for plot points. Other's mileage may certainly vary.

Two and a half stars, rounding up because Camp is a skilled writer. He just needs someone to make him drill down to the story core.

Many thanks to Allie, who joined me on a buddy read for this one, and to NetGalley, for an advance ereader copy. Quotes are subject to change, but I think conveys the style well.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
April 27, 2023

This was a wild ride. I barely knew what was happening MOST of the time and I do mean that literally!

The City of Lost Fortunes is a beautifully written novel that seemed a bit like a mythology textbook on steroids.

I went into this book somehow thinking it was YA magical realism? Not exactly sure where that idea came from because that is NOT what this is. I think I may have heard someone talking about it on BookTube and misunderstood the synopsis.

That out of the way, what is this book? It is Urban Fantasy, which if we are being honest, is not my favorite subgenre of Fantasy. I would also say it falls more into the NA category than anything else.

The story follows Jude, who when we meet him, appears to be a simple street magician in New Orleans. In fact, he is actually a demigod...I think...we follow him into a card game where there are gods, vampires, etc., involved. They are playing with tarot cards but it sounded like poker and it is for his talents, gifts, fates, futures...

I seriously don't know. A god gets murdered and then Jude must investigate the incident to figure out whodunit so he can get his magic back?

There was A LOT going on in this book. The side characters were all from different culture's mythologies/belief systems.

Basically it was like a hodgepodge of all types of mythological beings and creatures from all around the world. This was really cool. I did enjoy it and the author did include some very interesting facts/beliefs behind almost of these beings as well. It was just hard for me to keep track of who was who and what their special powers, etc., were.

This being said, the writing in this book is absolutely beautiful. It has such a gorgeous lyrical quality to it. I really wish the plot could have been a little less hectic so that I could focus more on that incredible styling as opposed to trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

Maybe it's me? I don't know. I am really interested to see what other readers thought of this one. I haven't read any reviews of it thus far.

Again, the concept of it was excellent, I just feel like the execution could have been a little less hectic and perhaps more concise. If that makes sense?

If there is a continuation of this story, I think it is the start to a series maybe, I would definitely check it out.

Perhaps more of the pieces would fall into place for me. I did have fun reading it, I laughed a bit and there was definitely a ton of action.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an e-copy to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity!
Profile Image for P. Clark.
Author 49 books4,512 followers
November 30, 2021
Loved this book. It breathes and exudes New Orleans. The magic system is sublime, and the many gods (and other near divine beings) are amazing. There's a type of deft character switch about midway that had my jaw drop. Just a pure delight and the type of urban fantasy I'm looking for.
Profile Image for Liis.
586 reviews111 followers
May 7, 2018
The City of Lost Fortunes is one of those books that takes magic, mythology, folklore and culture and puts it together into a mix of mindblowing fantasy bubble. Fresh, quirky and highly engaging, The City of Lost Fortunes is fantasy on stimulants!

I did not at all expect to be taken on such an atmospheric, surreal, all-encompassing journey and I don’t think Jude was quite expecting it himself either.

Arcane symbols and geometries, ritual and craft and symmetry. Sacred spaces, messages, prayers, boundaries, traps. The Universe made small, the soul writ large. Circles within circles, all with one purpose: to let the magic in and keep the darkness out.

The City of Lost Fortunes was a true joy to read what with such a beautiful, poetic writing that guided me through time and dimensions as if in a dream. The gods, monsters and mythological undertone, all blew my imagination into a maelstrom of exploration which I welcomed with childlike glee. It was a rich, wonderful mix on this and the other side of life.

The conflict at the centre of this book is not a simple one but rather an avalanche of events that through cause and effect guide Jude towards truths and a fate he never considered.

There is a lot of magic in this book… suppressed magic, magic that has been taken away and magic that has been enhanced. And one way, or another, Jude experiences magic in all forms. But he is not a know-it-all; he learns and discovers and gambles… the game among gods and monsters isn’t over until the final card has been dealt.

So magic is like sex and air, he thought, don’t matter until you ain’t gettin’ any.

Yeah, Jude is a bit of a wise-cracker! I loved his character- his intelligent, analytical mind, his particular view of men, gods, magic. Everything he goes through in this book, and it’s a LOT, he takes it in his stride, without complaint, even when he ends up experiencing an unexpected … ahem.. out of body experience of sorts! As he investigates the murder, and as his very essence hangs in the balance, Jude must remain alert to recognize friend from foe.

“Because I’m starting to think you’ll shit the bed and get us sucked down into the Ninth Circle of Hell.”

“You planning on betraying somebody?” Jude Asked

Regal whipped her head around, her face a mask of fury. “The fuck you just say?”

Jude held up his hands. “Take it easy. I’m fucking with you. You screwed up your Dante is all. Sorcerers like us end up in the Eighth Circle, not the Ninth. Number nine is for betrayers.”

I liked all of the characters in the book- some of them we have all heard about through various tales, but it seemed to me that Bryan Camp is a special kind of puppeteer to bring them all together: angels, vampires, zombies, psychopomps, voodoo loas riding the human bodies, ghouls… I’m telling you, this book is a treasure and when you’re reading it, you’re the pirate taking a dive into a loot of pure gold.

The City of Lost Fortunes is an ode, a dedication, to New Orleans and its people. A fantastic, imaginative fairytale-like puzzle of gods and monsters, supernatural folklore and myths. It is an incredible venture into a world otherwise unseen to mere mortals, topped up with a generous dose of attitude, unexpected nuggets of wisdom and twists, underlined by an unwillingness to fold in a game with an open ending. Basically, do yourself a favour and read this book, m’kay?!
Profile Image for Brittany Lee.
Author 1 book114 followers
November 4, 2019
This book needs to be turned into a movie!! There were so many great scenes, I was thinking this is way too badass, I need to see it on a big screen!

The storyline took me on a magical ride, with so many beautiful metaphors relating to the true urban City of New Orleans mixed with an amount of mystique and fantasy perfect for the engaged reader. I also loved the appreciation for the occult this book showed. The personal tarot drawings that were included before chapters were so cool and a nice touch! The cover is as beautiful as was the story. I absolutely loved this and look forward to reading the second book in the series.

Much gratitude to the Goodreads giveaway program, the author Bryan Camp, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing for providing me with this free print copy of The City of Lost Fortunes, which I won. All reviews are my own and voluntary.
Profile Image for R.F. Kuang.
Author 16 books37.8k followers
April 17, 2018
This book was so much fun! I'm not usually one for this genre of murder mysteries, but I'm here for the encyclopedic command of world mythologies and the similarities to Neil Gaiman's American Gods. The worldbuilding is exquisite, the tension never lets up, and I could see any of the plot twists coming. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Carlos.
621 reviews291 followers
April 18, 2020
4.5 stars. This was such an awesome book, the world that was created and the quirky characters made the book work..I cannot wait to read the second book in these series.
Profile Image for Kelly.
541 reviews76 followers
May 15, 2018
This was everything I wanted Anansi Boys to be, but better.

This book is the perfect mix of magical realism, myth, and witty word play. So clever it almost gave me a headache but I could NOT stop reading until I realized how everything would come together.
This is a coming of age story, but it's also a love letter to the city of New Orleans. It's about finding yourself, knowing what to let go of, and knowing what, or who to believe in. And then fighting like hell to keep it.

This is a story for anyone who has ever felt like the game was rigged, the odds were stacked against them, like they were the underdog. And who doesn't want to see the underdog come through? I would recommend this highly to anyone who loves fantasy, books about New Orleans, ensemble casts, or anything based on mythology.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion. My favorite line is from the ARC so please be aware that this could have changed before final publication.

"There is magic in all things, in songs and fire, in the night sky and in the storm on the horizon, in voices raised high and secrets hidden deep, in stories and in change and hope.
There is magic in beginnings, this is true, but there is also magic-such great and beautiful and powerful magic-in refusing to let something end."

Profile Image for Rachel Pollock.
Author 12 books64 followers
October 11, 2017
This is a placeholder for a longer review I will write at the end of the month when work stops being so busy. In a nutshell for now:

Full disclosure--I went to grad school w/the author & read an early draft in class. So I'm not a stranger to the story, but neither am I a gushing sycophant just because I know the guy. Grad school is about criticism, not blowing soap bubbles at one another's egos.

That said, I love this book. The pre-pub blurbs compare it to AMERICAN GODS which I get because the show is a hit right now so it's the pop reference du jour, but it reminds me of everything I adored about Tim Powers' LAST CALL & Clive Barker's IMAJICA, except so steeped in New Orleans essence it'll get you contact-high.
1 review6 followers
October 16, 2017
I devoured The City of Lost Fortunes in 2 days and am already thinking about reading it again. It's one of these books that you're sad to finish even if you can't help but rush through it.

10 days after I finished it, I'm still in withdrawal. I miss the evocative description of New Orleans (the streets, restaurants, atmosphere...). I miss the characters, their struggle to find who they are in a world they don't know the rules of. And I miss the intellectual pleasure of reading a book that well written (the poetry of the language, the richness of the references, etc.).

This novel succeeds in being entertaining at the same time as instructive. My kind of book :)
Profile Image for Joe Crowe.
Author 5 books24 followers
November 7, 2017
New Orleans is one of the most evocative cities in the world. It's a character itself, and the best stories that take place there take advantage of the mysticism, the culture, the crazy flair.

Author Bryan Camp began writing this story in the back seat of his parents' car as they were evacuating from Hurricane Katrina. My family and I were in New Orleans only a couple of weeks before Katrina hit. Of course, I do not understand the magnitude of the feelings of Camp, his family, or others who experienced the storm directly.

It's clear that the author loved writing this. It's a love letter to New Orleans, and a fun supernatural adventure story, too.

You can pick this up if you like urban fantasy but don't know a thing about New Orleans, but come on. You need to get yourself to New Orleans. The beignets, man.

Camp's story is a fantasy adventure that could not be told in any other city. You could put all the urban-fantasy tropes in some other city and it would fall flat. None of those locations have the same jazz as New Orleans, literally or figuratively.

(Review from an advance copy.)
Profile Image for Sina & Ilona Glimmerfee.
1,055 reviews121 followers
October 11, 2021
Jude hat eine wertvolle Gabe. Er kann verlorene Dinge aufspüren und Blicke in die Zukunft werfen, doch die Gabe wendet sich seit längerer Zeit gegen ihn und so meidet er Berührungen zu anderen Menschen und trägt ständig Handschuhe. Er bekommt eine Einladung, die er nicht absagen kann und findet sich in einer Pokerrunde wieder, deren Regeln er nicht versteht und als dann noch der Glücksgott der Stadt ermordet wird, muss er sich an den Ermittlungen beteiligen.

Dies ist der Auftakt zu einer neuen Fantasy-Reihe. In diesem Buch versammeln sich Engel, Götter, Hexen, Voodoo Geister und andere magischen Gestalten. Die Geschichte ist modern, spannend und gut erzählt. Jude war mir weder sonderlich sympathisch noch unsympathisch, aber es wurde mir an seiner Seite nicht langweilig. Die Geschichte verlangt eine gewisse Portion Konzentration, war also kein Nebenher-Buch, sonst kommt man schnell ins Schwimmen. Die Charaktere waren allesamt interessant und sorgten immer wieder für Überraschungen und Wendungen, mit denen ich nicht gerechnet habe. Jude verkehrt in Lokalen, die es tatsächlich gibt, was für mich interessant war, diese zu googeln.
Profile Image for Neile.
Author 10 books15 followers
January 11, 2018
This book is a joy to read. It's a gorgeous book--even the ARC, which I was lucky enough to be given at World Fantasy Convention. It's gorgeously written, though naturally so and just enough that as I read I kept realizing how much I was enjoying the descriptions, the language, the refrains that cast so many echoes throughout the story. The events and the New Orleans it takes place in are vivid. So are the characters, their flaws and their desires. It's also a ton of dark and fascinating fun.
Profile Image for ReadBecca.
831 reviews85 followers
August 15, 2018
I need more stars, this is a fantastic debut. Every aspect feels like it could be a lost American Gods novel, it shares the way Gaiman tends to weave a pile of myths into his stories, while having the setting with one foot firmly planted in the gutter of the real world, and the other foot in a realm of otherworldly.

Jude is a former New Orleans street magician, with an actual power to find lost things, in the six years since Katrina he's barely been able to use his power to keep afloat, because of the overwhelming loss in the city. One of his debts is called in, landing him in a supernatural card game using the tarot to gamble on the fates. Unfortunately, during the game a trickster god at the table winds up dead and Jude doesn't remember what happened, this sets him on a rambling journey through the city's magical underworld of voodoo, zombi, angels, gods and monsters, in an attempt to solve the murder and learn the outcome of the hand he was dealt.
Profile Image for Josie Jaffrey.
Author 38 books159 followers
May 23, 2018
I loved the set-up of the story in this novel. Jude is an arrogant yet charming part-magical being with a talent for finding lost things, and not just locating lost items, but he also has the power to ‘see’ lost futures and lost opportunities, something I found really thought-provoking. I liked the early dynamic between Regal, a smart mouthed magician who seemed to be permanently angry at the world, and Jude, and I thought that the set up of the murder at the poker game of gods was unusual and intriguing. It raised so many questions that I was looking forward to having answered.

However, about 160 pages in the story started to lose me, around the time Jude broke into the vampire god’s house and discovered him trying to turn a woman. In itself not unusual in a book of this genre, however when it turned out that the woman was actually both a book, and the manifestation of the city of New Orleans (assuming I’ve understood this correctly), and so therefore the vampire god was effectively trying to turn the whole city, it basically lost me. It was just way too far fetched to work for me, and to be honest it just continued downhill from there.

There were too many different manifestations of each god for me to ever really get any depth from any of them, which was a shame as I found their ‘personalities’ and the dynamic between them interesting, and I would have liked to see more of this. Also, although the murder mystery storyline was arguably the central theme, it felt like it got lost in all the other threads and characters, despite being mentioned a lot, which I thought was sad as I was really enjoying trying to work out who killed the fortune god and why.

Whilst I appreciated the author’s daring in killing off his main character, I didn’t really understand the point of the subsequent journey through the land of death, other than to bring Jude back in another character’s female body (again, just too much for me). I assume it was part of Jude’s self-discovery and his coming to terms with who is father might have been, but again I feel like this got lost in unnecessary details and events, plus I hate that this was never actually resolved!

Ultimately, although I enjoyed the first half of the book I found the second half convoluted and confusing. The author tried to pack too much into it and it was as if he kept going off on tangents just because he felt like it. Sadly, because I wasn’t hooked on the story I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters, although I did like Sal. Lastly, I also really didn’t get the manifestations of the voice, heart and soul of the city. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been to New Orleans and experienced its atmosphere, but seeing a city almost as a person was too much of a stretch for me. I really wish the author had just stuck to and really explored the central murder mystery and characters - I think I would’ve enjoyed the book a lot more.

The good:

The original premise of the story; the murder of a god at a poker game and the magician who can find lost things. I also enjoyed the introductions the author included in the majority of the chapters, exploring different cultures’ views and beliefs of the mystical world.

The bad:

I felt the author lost his way in the second half of the novel. I found it convoluted, difficult to follow and sometimes just too far-fetched, but maybe I just don’t have enough imagination!

The quote:

'We call them shaman or bruja, magus or bokor, kalku, onmyōji, magician. We revere or revile them; we beg them for help or burn them alive. We fear them, not because of their power, but because of their humanity. They are what we could be if only we had the courage, or the madness, to pay the price – and there is always a price.'

The Gin Book Club received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,438 reviews295 followers
April 24, 2018
How do I review this one without saying too much? That is always the tricky part. But I have to start somewhere, so let us start with:

New Orleans, it is just something about this city. And I can totally believe there is a magical battle going on. That the City if alive. That there are gods, loas, voodoo, angels and more running around. A magical melting pot. It never lets you down.

Jude is lucky. and he always finds missing things. He has no idea who his father was, except that it was a god. And his mother knows magic. But Katrina changed everything. And like the City he was lost. I liked him because you can not dislike him. He is luck, he is likable.

Other characters that show up are old friends, and new enemies, as Trickster Gods are playing games and people are dying. And he is told to solve it.

I liked how chapters began with the reader learning a bit more. About common threads throughout mythology. Vampires in different mythologies. The End of Days. Trickster Gods. Shamans. Destiny. That really was my favorite part and I would have loved to dive more into that.

But it did feel a bit too long at times and my mind started to drift. It could have been shorter. I do not have a problem with long books, but then they have to be on their game through out.

Last thoughts:

An interesting book that is both calm and ready to dance.
Profile Image for Summer (speaking_bookish).
669 reviews34 followers
May 2, 2023

The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.

I recently finished an ARC copy of City of Lost Fortunes ( thank you, Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and the following is my honest review.

Jude Dubuisson has been lying low ever since Katrina hit his home of New Orleans causing his magical ability to find Lost things to play havoc on his power. But, after six years of self induced “retirement” spent hiding from his own abilities, he’s thrown back into the game when the fortune god of New Orleans is murdered. From there on he is forced to open himself up to his magic once again and go on a quest to find out who killed Dodge, and what it means for him. The outcome is something Jude never expected and forces him to play a game he isn’t foreseen to win.

I find the best word to describe this book is AWESOME. The protagonist Jude Dubuisson is, simply put, a badass of epic proportions. I loved everything about him. He is clever, dominant, and determined. He’s a trickster, a demi-god, and a magician with the amazing ability to find lost things. When he is suckered into a “poker” match that will name the winner the new god of luck of New Orleans, he finds he’s been out of the game to long and is possibly out of his league. The other fortune Gods are playing dirty and they don’t mean for Jude to have even the slimmest chance of winning or of walking away from the table alive. Against all odds, Jude finds his way out of the game before its conclusion but not without a cost. Dodge is dead and Jude’s hand is still in play. He sets out to find the killer and to reveal his fate once and for all... the soul of New Orleans is depending on him to not only survive, but to win.
Bryan Camp is on my new favorite authors list. His debut novel is absolutely amazing. Well written, edge of your seat stuff. The plot twists keep coming throughout the entire book and you find yourself rooting for the self proclaimed bastard the entire time. He’s got the perfect balance of good and evil, and he keeps very interesting company. Throughout the book you find Jude alive, dead, and weirdly enough, a woman for a short time. You spend time in the Elysian Fields and the underworld. The setting of New Orleans is the perfect backdrop to this book full of gods and myths and magic. It’s folksy, whimsical and amazing. I can’t even come up with a con to all the pros I’ve listed. I also would like to note that this book is listed as “a Crescent City Novel”, so I can only hope that means this book will be part of a series. I sincerely hope so, I cannot get enough of Jude Dubuisson! Congrats to Bryan Camp for this phenomenal piece of work!
Profile Image for Jane.
385 reviews606 followers
June 3, 2018
The City of Lost Fortunesis the kind of book I really, really want to like. Bryan Camp writes beautifully, slowly unwrapping the story with elegant descriptions and solid dialogue. He's built a complex world of urban magic that blends seamlessly into the real magic of New Orleans and the story sounds fascinating: our hero inadvertently joins a high-stakes poker game that he discovers too late has real life and death consequences.

Unfortunately, while reading this book I felt a lot like a kid in the backseat of the car on a long trip who can't stop asking "Are we there yet?" For all the beautiful writing, there just isn't a lot of action.


I'm also not sure if I just don't have enough experience with urban fantasy, because I frequently felt like there were terms, people, and ideas that I was supposed to already understand but that meant nothing to me. I don't know if my inexperience was the case or if some of those things needed to be explained better.

This is definitely an author to watch -- there was just so much that was good in this book that I'm looking forward to giving this author another try. But The City of Lost Fortunes will probably be preferred by readers who prefer pretty prose over action and plot progression.

Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
2,412 reviews68 followers
August 8, 2023
I am a fan of books steeped in magical realism and The City of Lost Fortunes was a delight to my imagination. Magic was a living, breathing thing in this New Orleans and through the alluring descriptions of the people, food, music, and history, the city took on an identity all its own. Also, just like the city, this story includes a multitude of religions and nationalities woven throughout and enveloped in the characters essence. Each character is unique and the role they play is truly a mystery that unfolds and the story goes on, it was fabulous.The setting is the perfect backdrop to create an environment where you can almost believe that this collision between the mystical and temporal could really be occurring. The story starts off slow and the pace is never fast but it is engaging and not a book that you would want to put down once you start reading it. The plot is well crafted and takes you on a delightful chase throughout the city where you encounter many original supernatural characters who may or may not have taken part in the demise of the Fortune God. It is an intriguing whodunit of the fantasy variety and it is a story that I would recommend to readers looking for a fresh take on the urban fantasy genre.

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
82 reviews2 followers
November 8, 2017
Absolutely loved it! After Katrina, demigod Jude has decided to lay low as his power of finding lost things has gone so haywire he is forced to seclude himself from most people. A fateful card game played with tricksters gods to become the Luck of New Orleans pulls Jude into a fight he wasn't ready for, and he is soon neck deep in a world he couldn't imagine and forced to push himself further than he ever thought possible. At each turn, Jude becomes less sure of who he can trust (these are tricksters, after all). With such a complicated plot, this story could well-have gone off the rails, but I'm happy to say that the rich details and complex characters were well-crafted. The comparisons to American Gods are well-deserved, but it is definitely a great story in its own right.
Profile Image for Angie Pfeiffer-Senft.
106 reviews11 followers
May 17, 2018
Let me paint you a picture. It's August 23rd, 2005 in Louisiana. The levees just broke, water begins a fast and furious pace to your homes, and everything surrounding you.

Your government has failed you. Rescue attempts, and basic amenities are hard to come by. Whether you want to or not, it's best to leave your house, and all the comforts of home to find safety.

As help comes, it is necessary to mark the houses that have been checked to see if anyone has been left behind. Even when the waters recede, it is evident that a disaster has ransacked not only your house, your neighbors house, but the entire city you have grown to love.

How can you forgive what has happened? How could the government do better? Would this kind of devastation cause you to leave, or dig your heals in to help your city find what was lost in the storm: it's Magic, it's Voice, and it's Luck?

Fast forward six years, and our main character Jude Dubuisson is ready to stop straddling the worlds of god and men, causing trouble on both sides, and face the real world again. You see, Jude Dubuisson was born with a gift; a gift from his father who he had never met. He had always been good a finding lost things. Following the devastation of Katrina, it was better "being nowhere and nothing, than feeling all the loss."

The breadth of his unique gift grew with him. From simply finding lost toys, to finding finding lost people. And when the levees broke open, his magic responded in the same way, only it was uncontrollable. Enough that he bought himself a pair of gloves so that he wouldn't accidentally touch someone to feel their loss. Since Jude was able to somewhat control his magic, he also needed to make a living. And what better way than a street magician. His shtick? Finding lost things of course! Mostly for young people so they wouldn't get in trouble with their folks. After a customer leaves behind their cell phone, Jude receives a call from his former partner, Regal Sloan, trying to throw him back into work.

A favor is being called in by the fortune god, Dodge Renaud, to attend a poker game. The entrance was masked in a magical ward that actively pushed any passerby away (physically making them cross the street). Going into a house Jude goes through a red door and can't believe his eyes. This was not an ordinary poker game- this game included a vampire, an angel, Papa Legba- king of voodoo, Thoth- keeper of scribes, a fortune god, and Jude. Instead of poker cards, tarot cards were used. Each player playing to effect the fate of someone in New Orleans- people Jude knew. Jude new he didn't have a clue how to play, and the god players are hoping he fails. Each god wants something different from Jude- the vampire wants his blood, Papa Legba wants his voice, and the angel wants his faith. When it's time to turn the cards over, he notices that all of his cards are blank. Seeming like he lost, the most acceptable thing to do is try to back out of the game before the gods can collect on their bets- Jude falls back into darkness and wakes up in his apartment fast asleep.

Regal calls Jude in the morning explaining that the fortune god of New Orleans has been murdered. Regal chauffeurs him off to his former employer Mourning to hash out the details of the killer. The murderer has to be one of the five card players from the game the past night, not excluding Jude who is having trouble remember things after he blacked out in his apartment. The first step in the magical crime investigation is to attempt to find Dodge in the underworld. Summoning a god though only manages to make the red door appear- and Regal and Jude walk through not knowing what they'll find. At first glance it is an empty room, but as they start to move around they get snapshots and stills of evidence, ending with Dodge on the table, his throat slit. When they come full circle to where Jude was sitting, one of his blank, upturned cards has an image on it. It's the Magician tarot card- and it has his face on it.

From the summoning sends Jude and Regal on a whirlwind of sleuthing. Questioning every god that was seated at that table, while being followed by a mysterious shadow that Jude can't seem to shake. With the red door constantly following him, what exactly is it trying to tell him? And why do the gods keep disappearing?

Oh this book (and I mean this in the best possible way). Almost each chapter starts out with a paragraph of poetry describing the differences in gods and religions in the most tasteful and politically correct way. I was hooked by chapter two in the epic god poker game, and Bryan Camp continued to suck me into the rich history of New Orleans trying to rebuild a dying city. 

Each character had such dimension- extremely well thought out and developed, and each holding a crucial piece to the mystery of the death of the fortune god. I honestly cannot find a single complaint with this book. In the author's note of this book, Camp states this is not the book he set out to right; the meat of it is still there IE the gods and monsters. I have to say, I'm not sure what your original direction was going to be, but I am super stoked that this book is the final product, especially for a debut novel. I do hope this series continues, as I am now a die hard fan of "Crescent City". 
33 reviews2 followers
April 10, 2018
Full Review appears at Pop Culture Bandit

Conceived as an idea in the backseat of his parents’ car as they evacuated Hurricane Katrina, there is denying that Bryan Camp’s debut novel “The City of Lost Fortunes” is a very personal tale for the author. Even with the inclusion of fantastical elements such as gods, vampires and magic; the central theme is on the destruction and loss that occurred in New Orleans during 2005, and how the community has attempted to rebuild itself in the aftermath. Speaking through his lead character, Camp illustrates this sense of bereavement for the pre-Katrina New Orleans, using the disruption to his magical abilities as a metaphor for the damage done to the Crescent City.

Camp’s vision of New Orleans is intoxicating, and while this is a highly fictitious interpretation of the city, it captures the very essence of the Louisiana city and its amalgamation of faiths and nationalities. It is a rich, vibrant location in which to set this tale of gods and monsters and Camp does the area justice with his evocative narration, making it just as much a character as the magicians and gods that populate the city streets. There is a smoky mysteriousness and darkness about Camp’s New Orleans that lends itself well to his murder-mystery adventure, as supernatural threats hide within plain-sight amongst the various seams and folds of the city.

Jude, the novel’s charismatic lead, finds himself on the hunt for a supernatural killer with the power to murder New Orleans’ god of fortune. However, the story is so much more than a standard whodunit – in fact, the identity of the murderer is revealed midway through the novel as Camp takes the narrative in surprising places, subverting expectations along the way. I was struck by how densely plotted this novel was, and how some characters were introduced in seemingly minor roles and ended up playing major parts in the narrative as the plot developed. There was a real sense of scale to Jude’s adventure, as he undergoes an odyssey akin to the Greece myths and legends of old. His character development is expertly done, and leaves the reader feeling completely satisfied, especially when he embraces his destiny.

While I’m aware of the Urban Fantasy genre through the likes of American Gods, Fables and Once Upon a Time, I haven’t actually read too much of the sub-genre and I have to say that “The City of Lost Fortunes” is a brilliant way to dip my toe into the water. Camp’s novel weaves a multitude of different mythologies and religions together to create his own distinct world that fits perfectly against its New Orleans setting. I love the clash of the mystical and the mundane, and how Camp populates his version of the Crescent City with mysterious tricksters and bloodthirsty vampires. Things take a decidedly more supernatural turn in the second-half of the book, prompting Jude’s development as a character as he embraces his own origins and abilities, but the novel unites the two worlds together before the end.

Supporting Jude on his journey to self-enlightenment is a myriad of quirky characters that straddle the line between both worlds. I particularly enjoyed Sal, the wise-cracking psycho-pomp, and Regal, Jude’s foul-mouthed former partner-in-crime. The characters are all extremely likeable and help form an eclectic cast of the good, bad and ugly of New Orleans – I’m surprised how well-established they all are, and how Camp fleshes them out with believable motivations and personalities. In the first half of the book, Jude and Regal’s banter helps draw the reader in and keeps them grounded, whilst Camp performs his world-building and establishing grand themes that will come into play in the second half.

“The City of Lost Fortunes” is an extraordinary read, filled with a surprising confidence from the first-time author. Enthralling from the first chapter, Bryan Camp’s novel drags the reader into the seedy secret alleyways of New Orleans and exposes them to the sinister underbelly of fate, fortune and the afterlife. Masterfully constructed, the plot is gripping from the outset and it was a genuine pleasure to witness the mystery unravel after each new chapter. Deftly switching gears from murder-mystery to fantasy-adventure, Camp’s narrative is unpredictable yet smooth – throwing a number of seemingly disparate plot threads together to produce a truly spectacular tapestry at the end. From a purely technical standpoint, I was impressed with how Camp structured this novel, and even more impressed how he managed to create something so intensely readable.

Long after I had bid farewell to Jude Dubuisson and the Crescent City, the events of the novel lingered in my mind – which is always the sign of a terrific read. While it is unclear whether “The City of Lost Fortunes” will kick off a series of Crescent City novels or not, there is no denying that Bryan Camp is a strong new voice in the field of Urban Fantasy, and one I expect to hear more about in the future. In fact, I’ve not felt this excited about a fantasy book since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and fans of that franchise who have long grown up and graduated from Hogwarts would do well to pick up this gem of a novel.
Profile Image for Dollie.
1,189 reviews29 followers
November 7, 2021
Jude Dubuisson, the finder of lost things, is invited to play a hand of poker with the “gods” of New Orleans. During the game, the god of luck is murdered. It also appears that Jude’s lost the hand, but with some new-found friends he ends up winning. This is a fantasy in which New Orleans is a magic city with fantastic people, including angels and vampires. One vampire has decided he wants to take control of the city, so he’s started changing people. I thought this was an interesting and imaginative read, but I’ve never been to New Orleans, probably will never go there and I don’t know anything about voodoo. So, even though I didn’t understand some of what was happening in this story, I did like it, especially the characters Renaissance Raines and Sal, so I’m going to continue on to the second book.
37 reviews9 followers
March 11, 2018
THIS BOOK… my people, this book is what urban fantasy is all about. City of Lost Fortunes follows Jude, whose uncanny gift for finding lost things gets him tangled up in a high stakes game played by the gods. I definitely recommend people keep a watch out for this book, set to release April 17. It’s Bryan Camp’s debut novel as well, which means I am gonna be keeping an eye out for whatever he has coming next.

Something I can’t gush enough about is how perfectly the urban part of urban fantasy is emphasized in this book. New Orleans is basically a character in and of itself, struggling to recover after the devastation of Katrina six years prior to the start of the novel. I loved that the New Orleans itself, its history, its vibe, was so prominent both in the lore and the plot of this book. It matters that it takes place in New Orleans. Katrina is a constant shadow over the characters and the story. It’s obvious that Camp is a New Orleans native—you can see it in the little details and the offhanded way the characters knew the vibe of the different parts of the city.

Camp writes a really vibrant and exciting fantasy culture too—gods and demigods make up the cast, with the occasional human thrown in. What I liked best about the cast is that Camp strikes a perfect balance between all-powerful terrifying gods and simply fun to read characters who it’s not uncomfortable for other characters to interact with. Of course Haitian Vodou was a significant aspect of the lore, but there were whole other pantheons of gods and demigods as well, and they intermingle pretty seamlessly.

I have literally only ONE complaint with this book, and that would be Camp’s insistence on starting every chapter with a couple of super vague paragraphs that I think are meant to be deep/insightful but mostly just annoyed me because it takes you out of the plot a bit. I did have to muscle my way past those, especially in the beginning before I was really into the book, but I am so SO glad I did.

Despite that this book continues to rack up the points in other areas: cool lady characters who don’t bone our scallywag protagonist (even though I was kinda cheering him on at some points…); no End of World Prophecies—just a dude trying to save his city and his own ass; definitely could be standalone; talking dogs (!!!); AND, importantly, villains who are just… gross. And creepy. It makes a huge difference in a novel if the reader is genuinely creeped out by the villains, and I WAS.

Honestly, set your alarms for April 17. This book earns the rarely seen 5 paws up.

You can read the rest of my reviews at Purrs n Pages

**I received an ARC of this book. The contents of this review are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Karissa.
3,972 reviews195 followers
March 29, 2018
I got this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. This was an interesting read. It started out pretty slow for me. The writing style really wasn't my thing; lots of run on sentences and ambiguous starts to chapters.

However, as I continued to read I found the whole idea of Gods of different religions (different Tricksters) coming together interesting. I also enjoyed how the poker game and tarot cards played into the whole story.

The style of the story reminds a bit of Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey. It’s got that same kind of gritty, dark feel to it and the main hero is more of an anti-hero. However, this book is not nearly as gritty, edgy, and dark as the Sandman Slim series and I didn’t like it nearly as much.

Overall this was an okay read. It was a clever story, but as I said, the writing style was hard to read and I struggled with it some. I don't plan on continuing with the series.
Profile Image for Leanne.
604 reviews16 followers
June 20, 2019
What a mess. The author has a good imagination, but that doesn't help with the chaotic plot or the clumsy attempt at magical world building. Characters whip out charms, spells, magic, potions, and anything else they need without any kind of sense.

If he considered it cool, it was included in the non-stop randomness.

The plot couldn't have been thinner- it was all just a backdrop for whatever magic or magical character the author wanted to play with at any given time. Then he would change the magic or the character to a completely different thing to suit a need for redemption/evil.

And the constant repetition of "he was bothered by a feeling of unease..." restated a hundred different ways without ever nailing that crap down was beyond tedious. The only reason I gave it two stars was because of some random magic that WOULD have been cool in a thought out, well written book with a plot and some boundaries which this book most definitely was NOT.
Profile Image for Drew.
1,569 reviews507 followers
May 25, 2018
6 out of 5.

This book is everything I want to write, it's everything I want to read, it's just a delight. New Orleans blood runs in my veins and it was a joy to see the city not as it has so often been portrayed but as the city it spiritually wants to be. A city of light and dark, good and bad, shiny things and their rough undersides -- a city of Lost Fortunes, yes. A city where gods walk with mortals, where main characters have their gender pronoun swapped for a chunk of the book, where a little luck will make your story something exceptional.

Camp's writing is a joy, his plotting is top-notch, and his imagination is high-proof. This book is magical, it's funny, it's weighty, and it crafts a world that I want to live in for a while. I want my writing to feel like this -- like I want to buy the author a drink.
Profile Image for Jean.
328 reviews17 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
April 20, 2018
DNF @ 25%

I had high expectations for this book because I saw the blurb when it was sold in a preempt 2 years ago, but I guess that is the typical formula for an impending huge disappointment.

I went into this expecting great elements of fantasy but they ended up being so quiet I wasn’t even certain they existed until words like “vampire,” “zombie,” or “gods” popped up. If this was a magical realism book, well great, because I love those too, but unfortunately, the plot and characters were just too bland for me.
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