BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ARC Review of "Tricks of the Trade" by Laura Anne Gilman


Publisher: Luna
Release Date: Nov. 29, 2011
 Series: #3 Paranormal Scene Investigations
Buying Links:  Amazon     The Book Depository

Book Blurb (from Goodreads): *Contains spoilers for the previous books*

WHEN MAGIC GOES WRONG, WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL? 

The name’s Torres, Bonnie Torres, and I’m a paranormal scene investigator—rooting out the truth about crimes of magic. It’s dangerous and boring and scary and fascinating. Though not everyone in the Cosa Nostradamus is happy we’re around, which can make things…tricky. 


Working two cases—looking into a murder for the NYPD, and a rich man’s break-in—should be well within our abilities. But when things start getting weird in the Electric Apple, Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations is stretched to the limits, trying to keep one step ahead and out of trouble. Add in rumors of a powerful creature gunning for us and it’s not just our rep on the line this time—if we don’t solve this case, everyone will suffer.

Fortunately, around
here, when the going gets weird, the weird hire us.

Teaser:

Don't look, it whispered. Go away.

I so very much dislike being manipulated. It wanted me to stay away? I'd touch it.

And yeah, I knew that was dumb. I wasn't going to mock horror-movie heroines anymore.

My Thoughts: *May contain spoilers for the previous books*


Although this book starts with two mysteries, it doesn't take long for the focus to shift to Bonnie and Venec. They are trying to deal with the Merge, each in their own ways. Bonnie, not surprisingly, favors denial; Venec is trying to control it. The Merge becomes critical to the storyline in this book and there's fallout for both Bonnie and Venec. I enjoyed seeing Bonnie and Venec deal with it and I really enjoyed that we get to spend more time in Venec's head, thus getting to know him better. I had some concerns about the Merge when it was first introduced, it has potential to be a very handy, catch all talent but Gilman isn't going that route. I'm still not convinced of Bonnie and Venec as a couple but I'm slowly warming up to it.

There's also a new pup, Lou. I was uncertain about her at first, she seemed unnecessary but Gilman proved me wrong. I could definitely get to like her. The pups have been a team now for about a year and they have really come together, they work well together professionally and personally:

If I let them, the team would ply me with drinks and do their best to console me on whatever they thought was wrong, distract me with bad jokes or horrible stories, maybe try to fix me up with someone they knew who would be perfect...and normally I'd let them, accepting their own odd ways of showing they cared. But suddenly, my skin was too raw, my nerves too exposed, and I just needed to be by myself.

 
The Roblin, a mischief imp, has come to town in the midst of their caseload. After playing tricks here and there around the city, he discovers the pups and zeroes in on several of them. At first, the pups are inclined to blow off The Roblin; he's annoying but doesn't seem to be a threat and no one is paying them to investigate or stop him. However, when he turns his attention to the pups, he begins to cause problems for them, both personally and professionally. Among other things, he gets Bonnie evicted from her apartment. While that's inconvenient, Bonnie had already discovered an apartment building that she really liked and where Wren Valere (from the Retrievers series,of which this series is a spin off) lives. Not all of The Roblin's mischief is so benign but neither was he quite the force of chaos that he was initially made out to be. To be honest, I thought that his trouble making reputation was overblown, but he does tie in to the overall storyline and helps move things along. I'd been waiting for the time lines between the two series to sync up more closely and I was very happy that we got to see Wren, however briefly. I also imagine that we'll see more of the unrest that occurs in the Retriever series. After all, that's prime breeding ground for the work that the pups do.

The Roblin is not the only new player in town. An Old One is around and involved in one of their cases. I like Gilman's use of fairy tales and fairy tale creatures. While she doesn't use any specific fairy tales in her books, she draws heavily from them for atmosphere, for ideas, and for beings. Her fey, or Fatae as she call them, are very much the fey from the old stories - tricky, sly, yet rule bound, generally not good or bad per se but different from humans in ways that we perceive as good and bad.

Gilman writes a tight story, though I would have liked to see a more definitive conclusion to the case that they are working for the NYPD.The case with the break-in was occasionally confusing as references were made to a woman who died and her son who was missing then suddenly they were both missing, no only one was missing. Gilman wasn't consistent in her descriptions of their statuses. In the end, the pups determined the actual status of both mother and son but in the meantime, there was a lot of confusion on the author's part about who was missing and who was dead. The other thing that bothered me, and it's a small niggle overall but it's one of my pet peeves, were the medical inaccuracies. There's a scene where a character is having what appears to be a seizure and a pup tries to insert their fingers in the patients mouth. Years ago, it was commonly believed that you should insert something in a seizing person's mouth to keep them from swallowing their tongue, but medical science debunked that a while ago and showed that doing so caused more harm than just leaving the mouth alone. Standard medical practice now calls for not doing anything with a seizing person's mouth, but you should turn them on their side, in case of vomiting. Something the pups failed to do. The other medical inaccuracy involved rabies shots. When a character is badly bitten by a dog, the doctors at the hospital immediately administer a rabies shot. Wrong. It's a series of shots and it is NOT routinely administered right away. First, they try to determine if the attacking animal had rabies, or if a domestic animal, has proof of a rabies vaccination. Then, the doctor and patient may start the series of shots for rabies, if there seems to be a need. Still, none of the inaccuracies affect the overall storyline; I just hate seeing inaccurate medical information, whether in a book or on screen.

Overall, it's a well done urban fantasy mystery, with good characterization, good writing, solid world building and fun, likable characters.

I received an eARC from NetGalley.

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