A new urban fantasy by suricattus
requires dropping everything else, once I get my hands on it. And joy, it was worth the wait!Pack of Lies
by Laura Anne Gilman
My rating: 4 of 5 starsPack of Lies
is the second of the Paranormal Scene Investigations, as the publisher calls the urban fantasies about Bonita Torres, Talent (that’s a human magic-user to you) and now a PUPI, a Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigator. That unaffiliated part is important, because Bonnie, her team mates and two bosses are trying to create something that has never existed before – people who evaluate the Facts of a magic crime, taking no side.
Eight months into this grand experiment, there are a few people who grudgingly admit their skills might be useful, people (and I use the word loosely) who are deeply suspicious of the idea, and people who bitterly appose their venture and are doing everything they can to undermine it.
In this novel, what appears to be an open and shut case of an attack upon a fatae (non-human, thinking, magical creature) and his human, Talented companion is not only not simple, it may be related to a slow simmer of bigotry bubbling up in the stew of magic-users. The human Council (heavy hitters who follow certain laws and regs) distrusts the lonejacks (the independent magic-users,) the purebloods are suspicious of the part-bloods and mixed-bloods, and the fatae suspect the humans are out to exterminate them – and a few probably are. Gilman does an excellent job of introducing all these concepts, never interrupting the flow of the story.
This is not a shoot-em-up fantasy racing along at a breakneck pace. Gilman uses multiple POVs, some only to introduce new, key players in the game. There is a lot of introspection and stream-of-consciousness – possibly too much for people who want the plot to move
, who want to know where the potential romances are going, who expect to rip through a book a day in their quest for Another Good Story. You’re going to get a very good story here, but although it does not lag at all, it is, well, thick in spots. Characterization is intricate, and on one level the reader will realize what is going on before the characters do. Old tropes are used in new ways, with new intensity or with a light touch that makes this New York City a unique place on the fantasy scene.
This book is not as violent as the Retriever
books tended to be, although it is as dark in its own way. Bonnie and her cohorts are all twenty-somethings, and the things they learn about magic, and about human nature, hit with force because the first lessons are often the hardest.
If you enjoy the CSI style of story, if you like urban fantasy, if you like strong characterization, chances are you’ll like this book. Don’t read it as a straight romance (although a strong attraction is being fought in here) and don’t expect the crime to be tied up in a bow. Nothing is that simple in a Gilman novel, and her fans wouldn’t have it any other way.View all my reviews