Series: Esther Diamond #6
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW on 5 November 2013
Reading Challenges: 2014 Antique Reading Roadshow
Take a deep breath before you read this because the plot is kind of crazy. Esther Diamond is in a snit because NYPD Detective Connor Lopez slept with her but didn’t call later, busted the mafia linked restaurant where she worked as a singing waitress and then got her arrested for slapping a police officer. She manages to find an acting job in an indie movie which is plagued with bad luck. Someone is dishing out cursed Chinese fortune cookies and Lopez is one of the targets.
Esther somehow has a knack for surviving. She might have lost her job and be down to her last dime but she turns it around by snagging an acting role at a funeral house’s visitation for a respected Chinese businessman. She was supposed to be looking for who cursed the man to death but what’s an out-of-work actress supposed to do when there is an indie director in the crowd? Esther is very loyal to her friends which is admirable and refuses to turn in mafia enforcer Lucky when she finds him hiding out at the funeral house. Unfortunately she is fixated on the fact that Lopez never called her and can’t seem to move beyond it. It might have been amusing once or twice but by the end of the novel I was heartily sick of her immaturity.
Lopez is your classic overworked cop trying to do the right thing. He tried to organise the police bust when Esther wasn’t working so she wouldn’t be caught up in it but Esther changed shifts. When Esther slapped him and his superior officer, he deliberately mangled the paperwork so that she could be released and he even called in a few favours so the movie could go ahead with the correct permits. I felt really sorry for him because he was doing so much and getting nothing but disdain in return. There are a few hints that Lopez has some kind of mysterious power but it wasn’t really explored in depth.
There was an awful lot of filler in this novel with Esther’s whining about Lopez. I had hoped that there would be more tension but the murders were all done off stage so to speak with just characters describing what they thought had happened. By removing the reader from the action, it made it harder to get involved and care about the fate of people. We also have an awful lot of history given to us in chunks which was a little unwieldy. The blurb clearly stated that Lopez was a target so I was hoping that this would be the crux of the novel and Esther would risk her life to save him. Things didn’t quite turn out like that.
So where do we stand? The book was highly entertaining in parts and so-so in others. The premise was fantastic and many of the secondary characters were quirky and fun. I would have loved if Esther had been a little less of drama queen and we had been given more action. This is a quick read and worth a shot to see if Resnick’s zany style suits you.