Series: LINNET ELLERY SERIES
Plot Type: Paranormal Legal Thriller with a Romantic Touch
Ratings: Violence—5; Sensuality—4; Humor—3
Publisher and Titles: Tor
This Case Is Gonna Kill Me (9/2012)
Box Office Poison (8/2013)
The author has a background in both the legal system (as an attorney) and in show business (as a writer and editor), and she includes many realistic details of both career fields in the stories. She is also a horse trainer, and the details of this career spill over into the life of the series heroine, Linnet Ellery. Linnet is a human woman, a brand-new attorney who is hired by a White-Fang law firm called Ishmael, McGillary & Gold. (In an on-line interview, the author explains that "there's a tradition in the law to call very prestigious law firms 'White Shoe' firms. It just worked so perfectly for a vampire law firm to be a 'White Fang' firm.") Although Linnet is a human, not a werewolf, she reminds me of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville in that she doesn't have super strength or mad fighting skills so she uses her intellect (and in Linnet's case, her legal skills) to get herself out of tough situations.
Linnet is the daughter of a relatively wealthy family who fostered her out to a vampire household when she was a child, a common occurrence in this world. The vampires want humans to believe that they are harmless and family oriented, and the humans who turn their children over to the vamps want to share the vamps' power, influence, and money. Luckily for Linnet, her foster vamp father, Meredith Bainbridge, is a kind and generous man who provided her with everything she ever wanted, including her own horses and equestrian training at the Olympic level. Linnet is actually closer to her vampire family than to her human family, and her cushy background definitely colors her worldview. She is not a simple girl from the suburbs; she is well-bred, well-traveled, well-heeled, and well-educated (Radcliffe and Yale). Linnet's most striking characteristic is her deep-down belief in the justice system. She searches for the truth in every situation, no matter how much trouble it causes (and, believe me, it causes a LOT of trouble)
This is not one of those stereotypical urban fantasies that features a trash-talking, black-leather-corseted heroine pulling weapons out of her hair and her boots. The only boots Linnet wears are thousand-dollar, custom-made riding boots, with nary a knife in sight. Linnet is a well-bred city girl who dresses expensively and conservatively and relies on her brains to get her through even the most dangerous situations. The supernaturals of this series are mostly old-school gentlemen who open doors for women and speak softly, but always hold that proverbial big stick, in this case, a metaphorical Powers stick. This is a refreshingly smart series with compelling story lines, well-constructed plots, and interesting characters.
BOOK 1: This Case Is Gonna Kill Me
Linnet's first assignment is to assist another lawyer (Chip Westin) on a decades-long case (the one mentioned in the book's title) involving a disputed will left by Henry Abercrombie, a millionaire werewolf. That will involves Securitech, a multi-million-dollar security firm that is being run by Daniel Deegan, a werewolf sired by Abercrombie specifically to be his second inn command. When Abercrombie was Turned, he left behind his human wife and children, but now that he is dead, they want all of his money as well as the business. Linnet's law firm is representing the human family, and it's up to Linnet to help Chip finally bring the case to a successful close.
Very early in the story, a rogue werewolf breaks into the law offices one night when Linnet and Chip are working alone. The wolf kills Chip and attacks Linnet, but she miraculously gets away with only a few scratches, while the wolf winds up as a splatter at the bottom of an elevator shaft. This is the first—but definitely not the last—time that we watch Linnet escape safely from a dangerous episode, and we soon sense that there is some (possibly magic) reason for that, although this is only hinted at, but not explored in the first two books.
After Chip's death, Linnet takes over the Securitech case and begins her own investigation with the assistance of John O'Shea, a private investigator the firm hires as a free-lance consultant. John is an Álfar, a handsome, sexy man to whom Linnet is immediately attracted. The two of them follow some leads that take them into some dangerous situations, particularly for John. Again, though, Linnet always makes it out safe and sound.
BOOK 2: Box Office Poison