Tricks of the Trade (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Tricks of the Trade by Laura Anne Gilman
Paranormal Scene Investigations #3


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.…

Bonnie's still hard at work along with her fellow teammates working paranormal crime scenes to get to the root of the offense. They've slowly been able to establish some credibility, though nothing is ever easy as they are treading in untested waters. Working two cases at once shouldn't have posed a problem, but then some crazy things start happening and everything gets turned upside down. To make matters worse a faceless creature is loose in the city wreaking havoc and the team seems to be its latest target.

To be honest, Tricks of the Trade was a little overwhelming at times. There just seemed to be too much going on at once to really follow. Not only were there two cases, but there also was the Merge issue as well as another fatae mess stirring the pot. To make matters worse was that the pups kept getting switched around in their assigned jobs that it was too hard to keep track of it all. At times I found myself really frustrated to the point of losing interest. This was all with having the knowledge from the first two books on how things work. It would be almost impossible to pick the series up at this point without that foundation, and even then some of the magical aspects still baffled me. I think if one or two of the issues had been removed, the book would have been a lot more enjoyable, but as it was, things just seemed crowded.

Tricks of the Trade was every bit as much about the cases as it was the ongoing issue of the Merge between Bonnie and Ben. It is such a rare thing that they don't really know its full reaches or what to fully expect. That would be fine and good, and the mystery of it all would be quite interesting if that had been the only issue. However, both Bonnie and Ben are fighting the thing tooth and nail to the point of sheer stubbornness. He doesn't like not being in control, and she has major issues with relying on someone else. Every time they let their guard down they both relax and benefit from the connection, but in no time at all one or both panics and they are set back again. They seem to be using the poor excuse of the boss/employee taboo and its effect on the team. But to be honest I think the team would rather have them shacking up and get things back to normal versus having the pair of them on such an edge all the time. It is really starting to effect their work, and they cannot afford that. Also, the lack of progress was just general frustrating to me as a reader. At this point I just want them to either get it on already or find a way to completely sever the connection. This hanging in limbo just might drive me batty.

While I can't say that Tricks of the Trade was my favorite installment, it didn't turn me off the series. I love the dynamic between the team members and the two top dogs, as well as the very intricate world behind it all. I think with a little less chaos and some forward progression in the romance area there is plenty of promise for the future. I'll be looking forward to seeing where things lead after the ending events of Tricks of the Trade as a whole new can of worms may have opened. It should prove to be an interesting ride.

(Received a copy from Netgalley)


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