Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tricks of the Trade

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Members of the Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations (P.U.P.I.), often referred to as puppies, function extremely well as a team. A year of solving crimes together made them pretty confident about their skills and it allowed them to get to know each other really well. They even have an 87% success rate, something that Ian Stosser likes to mention as often as possible. Sharon and Nifty are still battling for leadership, but their power struggle doesn’t affect everyday work. If anything, the strong competition makes them more focused and reliable.

Bonnie and Venec are trying to figure out their Merge and what it might mean for them, personally and professionally. They both realize that their compatible currents might be put to good use at work, but they are also too stubborn and possibly even too scared to explore the possibilities. Neither of them is the kind of person who can easily accept destiny, they both want to believe that they’re in control, so they prefer fighting their mutual attraction instead of just surrendering to it. Of course, there’s also the fact that he’s the Big Dog and Bonnie is just a puppy, which means that their relationship might prove disastrous for the team. Bonnie’s recreational, emotionless sex with Pietr doesn’t really change things either way, but that’s not to say that Venec’s too happy about it. Big Dog can growl like nobody’s business!

In Pack of Lies, we had the usual first person major point of view, but we were occasionally allowed to see things from Venec’s perspective as well, and those parts were in third person, probably to avoid confusion. This time, Gilman takes it even further and offers more POVs: Venec’s, Ian’s, Nick’s and Sharon’s. While some might be uncomfortable with such a choice, and especially with the changes from 1st person to 3rd person and back, it was necessary because the puppies were divided in half, working on two unrelated cases, and obviously Bonnie couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Bonnie is a really good heroine: she is smart, honest to a fault, self-confident and pretty good at what she does. I like that she’s not in any way better than the rest of the team. Instead of focusing on a single character, these books focus on the actual cases and everything else, even romance (especially romance!) takes the back seat.

Book 4, Damage Control, should be released in Spring 2012.

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