Book Review: Tricks of the Trade by Laura Anne Gilman

Goodreads: 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.…

I enjoyed Tricks of the Trade. It’s doesn’t move at a breakneck speed, but it’s not slow. It just kind of advances at a very steady, moderate kind of pace.

Tricks of the Trade is the third in Paranormal Scene Investigations. It’s like a magic CSI: NY. Sometime between the last book and this one, the team got a new player and I really think Ms. Gilman ought to do a short story or two detailing her interview and subsequent disaster in the field (referred to by the characters, but not in any detail.)

This time they have two cases and Bonnie gets to investigate each in turn. One involves a robbery, the other a murder. The robbery is pretty interesting. ;) It’s not quite what it seems.

Bonnie is more mature than in the last two books. She has seen so much, poor girl, it disturbs her. Her teammates have found out about her relationship with Ben, and yes, at the end of the book they even kissed! Nothing else, sadly. They have accepted their attraction to each other, and I think it had something to do with how the robbery case was resolved. ;)

An ending which, by the way, I didn’t see coming. (I didn’t see the ending in the last book coming, either). But it’s pretty much the only way it could have ended. You can’t really ask anything else of the perfect ending. ;)

There is no information on what this Merge thing between actually is. Bonnie hasn’t talked to her mentor/adopted father about it and I really think she should.

But the most hilarious thing in this book is that one of the bosses, Ian, apparently cannot parse evidence. He can’t keep his own magic from tainting the evidence. And really that is the whole premise of the book – to process evidence like magical CSI techs. I just found it funny he couldn’t do that. But his job is political schmoozing, so it works out.

Robin the Trickster also shows up in this story. My other favorite scene was when people are screaming because the train won’t come, the shuttle won’t come and people are screaming at the poor cops who telling them it will come, just be patient. The trickster is cackling to himself, and than some cabs show up to take the poor stranded strap-hangers to their destination. Robin the Trickster is baffled and decides to think up other ways to spread mischief in the city.

The weak point of this novel are the POV changes. It’s not that the happen a lot, they don’t, but sometimes the change in voice isn’t clear. Different POV characters sound the same. Especially when they don’t spend time talking to other people and the scene takes place mostly in their heads. I suspect that’s why some other people were confused by the POV changes.

Grade: B-

Teaser Tuesday: Tricks of the Trade by Laura Anne Gilman, part 2

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read

* Open to a random page

* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

Still reading Tricks of the Trade. Haven’t finished yet because I got distracted by Scholar by L. E. Modesitt. (Scholar was excellent.)

My Teasers:

“I’m allll about the girl pants,” Nick said in a singsong falsetto, picking up the tail end of our conversation. I wasn’t looking at him, but from the solid whap-noise, I was guessing that someone – probably Sharon – had just slapped him upside the head to shut him up before my visitor to our table.

- Tricks of the Grade by Laura Anne Gilman

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Teaser Tuesday: Tricks of the Grade by Laura Anne Gilman

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read

* Open to a random page

* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

My Teasers:

“Ok. Okay.” She wasn’t happy about heading all the way out there, but apparently so long as it didn’t involve having to the leave the City, she could deal with it. Shar was our only born-and-bred New Yorker – I didn’t count, having spent of my teens in Boston – and sometimes that just shone through.

- Tricks of the Grade by Laura Anne Gilman

I have to say, I sympathize with Shar. Not that I am a born-and-bred New Yorker. ;)

But who wants to go anywhere without decent public transportation, huh?

Book Review: Pack of Lies

Pack of Lies is the second book in the Paranormal Scene Investigations by Laura Anne-Gilman. It is just as good as the first one. Maybe a little better because the very first paragraph grabs you.

Blurb: My name is Bonita Torres, and eight months ago I was an unemployed college graduate without a plan. Now I’m an investigator with the Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations team of New York. Pretty awesome, right?

The Cosa Nostradamus, the magical community, isn’t quick to give up its secrets, though. Not even to fellow members. Not even when it’s in their best interests. So we’ve been busting our tails, perfecting our forensic skills, working to gain acceptance. The team’s tight… but we have our quirks, too. And our Big Dog, Benjamin Venec…well, he’s a special case, all right.

But we can’t give up. We’re needed, especially when a case comes along that threatens to pit human against fatae. But one wrong move could cost us everything we’ve worked for….

There are a lot of reasons I really liked this book. It moves fast, there is plenty of drama and the potential for a soul mate. Not sure; it reads like that, but no one is accepting it as such.

There is also a unicorn. I like unicorns (almost as much as I like dragons and there are dragons in this too!) and you don’t see unicorns too often in urban fantasy. They appear more frequently in traditional fantasy, but I don’t think they are terribly common there, either.

The sister is another reason. She is expertly manipulated and maybe she sees it, maybe she doesn’t. In any case, she created a situation that caused trouble for a lot of people, and is still convinced she is right. I am not sure why. Her reasons aren’t really explained all that well.

The bad guys though – they have no magic and they are ruthless. They have a lot of potential  and I think they will appear in future books.

The ending was very sad. It fit, but it was just so sad. I kinda feel sorry for them.