Review – This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

The good news. Reading this book did not, in fact, kill me.

The bad news. Neither did it make me stronger.

Maybe it isn’t fair to be disappointed with Bornikova’s first novel, about a lawyer in a world where humans coexist with “Powers” (the politically correct term for eunuch vampires, misogynistic werewolves, and sexy elves), for having so little law in it. After all, they’re called legal thrillers, not “legal procedurals”. But I picked up This Case Is Gonna Kill Me hoping for something different. The least developed aspect of most paranormal mysteries are the mysteries. I had hopes that given the emphasis placed our heroine’s career, there might actually be some tense supernatural courtroom drama involved.

Instead Linnet Ellery, the newest human female hire at a prestigious New York vampire law firm, spends most of the book running away from werewolves. It’s pretty obvious that Securitech, the world’s foremost werewolf private military contractor, wants her case against them to fail, but the vampires who run Linnet’s firm are blithely unconcerned when lycanthropes run amok in their expensive office suites. Luckily for Linnet, these combat-trained werewolves are easily tripped up by tangles of telephone cords, and she’s able to defend herself with perfume, a tossed makeup case, and a handful of marbles. When all else fails, she can count on breaking a heel and having her pursuers fly over her head into an open elevator shaft.

There’s a hint that there might be a little more to Linnet than she’s aware of, but if she’s secretly a changeling or the illegitimate offspring of a trickster god with built in anti-werewolf glamour, it’s never discussed.  She has an unnatural affinity for horses and even super hot elven private eyes find her irresistible, so such a reveal wouldn’t come as a shock. But if that were the case, the perfect opportunity for her to find out would be when her boyfriend takes her on a magical escape route through fairyland, and no one there says a word.

The book ends in a much more interesting place than it began, with Linnet ready to take the Unseelie Court to the Supreme Court to get her man back. But with more of the narrative dedicated to observations on what characters are wearing and eating than taking depositions and bringing cases to court, the abrupt promise of something more interesting to come is off-putting to say the least. It’s an acknowledgement by the author that she had the idea to take the genre in an unusual direction, but it wasn’t worth the trouble of writing about yet.


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