Review: Dopplegangster by Laura Resnick

I love a good fantasy romp. Especially when the characters are witty, snarky, and the story is fun.  In order to review this book I got a hold of book one in the series, “Disappearing Nightly”, and this review will cover both books.

“Disappearing Nightly” is the first book in the Esther Diamond series by Laura Resnick. This is a fun and funny, as in actually LOL’ing, book. The main character’s voice was easy to hear and her sarcasm was stinging without being grating. The cast of characters that join our Heroine were colorful, fun, and so well described that I could picture their body language during conversations very easily.

The introductions of the “posse” (my term not the authors) working to solve the disappearances was fun. Brief detailed descriptions of hot, sexy, drag queens, a cowboy condom king (seriously great lines here), the pop star with “hooker hair” (heh!), and the snotty wizard were wonderful. Working together to get their friends back still left time for humor and back stories while not letting up on the urgency to find people who may be dying somewhere. I liked that her cop-boyfriend Lopez has a nagging mother. I almost cringed along with him every time she called. It made him very likable and sympathetic. It also made her life a little messy.

This was a fun introduction to a cast of characters I want to know more about. The only thing that took me out of the story for a short while was the speed with which the heroine went from damsel-in-distress to in-charge-of-investigation. Her partner in solving the disappearances, Max, is 350 years old with much more experience, and yet seems almost lost without her from the instant they meet. I would have liked some transition from throwing-up-in-fear to taking-charge-of-posse. I got over it soon enough and was along for the ride quickly.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The story kept me reading straight through to the end in one sitting.

Now, on to “Dopplegangster.” It takes Esther into the world of the mob and Max and the yummy Lopez are along for the ride. I liked the introduction of a familiar in dog-form. The possibilities are wonderful for getting her in almost anywhere without arousing suspicion. I also liked that Esther is emotionally distraught when she witnesses a murder. It should be distressing.

It took me a couple of rereads to get the mob families straight, but once I did the intricate relationships were easy to follow and understand. I love the way Ms. Resnick wrote the dialogue. At times, devoid of description, jumping from one speaker to the next conveyed easily the speed and urgency of these conversations. The complicated world of mob families and the need to adhere to their rules during the investigation was entertaining. Like the main character, I too forgot occasionally that their mob help, Lucky, was a murderer.

I very much liked the way she worked the relationship between Esther and her cop-boyfriend Lopez. I do not know how she would have continued that unless he became part of the investigative group and walked away from the career he loves. I’m hoping to see him again in the next book to find out if his power has grown.

Like the first book, I wanted to know who was guilty from the very beginning and read through the entire book in one sitting just to find out. This book is fun, light, and you will laugh out loud in places. Esther, Max, Nelli (familiar), and Lopez are friends I look forward to meeting again.

GF