What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.
Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.
But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe….
Whoever named this novel must have been on crack because honestly, along with book covers, no, more than book covers, it is the titles of books that lure me in and This Case is Gonna Kill Me does not, in any way, attract me as a reader. The book could have been called so many other things that would have aptly, more attractively, reflected the story within but alas.
Moving on, the novel has a very interesting set up. Vampires, werewolves and fairies all inhabiting the world of law. Lawyering and law are hardly the stuff made for excitement – unless it is criminal law of course. But Bornikova succeeds in creating a fresh new world where vampire lawyers exist and female vampires do not. Where werewolves are violent and faeries are fae. Linnet is a human lawyer who is also a vampire fosterling and following her acceptance at one of the most lauded law firms, gets inexplicably embroiled in hair raising situations. She has an uncanny knack for survival and this tells me that there is more to Linnet than meets the eye. Where law, lawyering and the business are concerned, the writing is crisp and on point. The plot, while predictable, is exciting and keeps you turnings the pages. What I had problems with is the romance.
Bornikova needs to work on her characterizations. Linnet is not very interesting or compelling but the love interest, the fae whose name I can’t remember, is even flatter. I do not understand why he drops everything to help her out – to the point that he even got out of bed with another woman to come rescue her. The mush factor is huge and feels very improbable. The love interest is created more as an ideal partner than a person in his own right, with his own foibles and flaws. Linnet has, not very originally, gay best friends. She also is not very secure about her looks. I would have thought that someone with the smarts to be a lawyer would have more esteem and confidence that she shows.
Despite my quibbling, however, I did enjoy the novel. I just hope that the sequel tones down the romance and fleshes out the characters.