A handpicked team trained to solve crimes the regular police can’t touch—crimes of magic.
My name’s Bonnie Torres. Recent college grad, magic user and severely unemployed. Until I got a call out of nowhere to interview for a job I hadn’t applied for. It smelled fishy, but the brutal truth was I needed the work—so off I went.
Two days later I’m a PUPI—me and Nick, Sharon, Nifty and Pietr. Five twentysomethings, thrown into an entirely new career in forensic magic.
The first job we get is a doozy: proving that the deaths of two Talents were murder, not suicide. Worse, there are high-profile people who want us to close up shop and go away. We’re sniffing out things they’d rather keep buried.
Looks as if this job is gonna get interesting. The only problem is, we’re making it up as we go along….
Book one of Gilman’s Paranormal Scene Investigations is a sturdy set-up for books to come; the main players are in place, as is their purpose, ultimate goals, and bonds have begun to set in. Bonnie, a bit character in Gilman’s Retrievers series, is the able narrator, and she is surrounded by a team of similarly stubborn personalities: Nick, Nifty, Sharon and Pietr. The five, along with bosses Stosser and Venec, form PUPI – Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations.
The team is newly formed for the purpose of investigating crimes committed by Talent, individuals who can tap into current to sustain their magical abilities. A lot of the book then is about the team learning how to find, follow and analyze evidence, as well as how to actually work as a team. While interesting, it seemed that this aspect of the story slowed the pacing down; a lot of time is spent in an office, with the bosses putting the team through grueling tutorial tasks. They have to learn and I appreciated being privy to the process, but I found myself skipping just a little bit to see if there was action on the horizon. When the action came, it was magically based and therefore not quite as visual as a fight that, say, involved fists or swords. It fit the story, though, and so it’s not so much a complaint as an observation.
The big appeal for me was the team building. I love the idea of a fellowship, people coming together to achieve a certain end, and the bonds that form as a result of having to trust implicitly. So the bickering, the bucking for lead position, all of the team’s interplay kept my attention. And the personalities were complimentary different; each member of the team was distinct, and while complete backstories weren’t forthcoming, you just knew they had them. Also a standout was Bonnie’s relationship with her mentor, J. First, I loved J. I can picture him perfectly: a distinguished older man, he wears his wealth with class and at least an idea of humility. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty or kick back every now and then despite his appearance. And it is so very clear that he cares for and loves Bonnie. Here, see what I mean:
I am an overprotective ass, and have retreated to my antediluvian cave to ponder the many ways of my overprotective assness. Allow me a father’s worry, and forgive me my excess, and I will try to remember that you are indeed an adult – if not always an adult with the best judgement.
Call me when you are ready. I promise that I will not yell. Much.
All my etc,
*Beams* You can tell how awesome he is, just from that. I wanted more than I got of him, but still; I would read on in this series just to see how he weathers Bonnie’s new job.
If I had a problem or two with the book I can at least name them. One, Bonnie is hyperaware of people as potential boyfriends/girlfriends/one-night-stands. Though she thinks about “the itch” constantly, it’s not satisfied. There is a hint of sexual tension between her and one of the bosses, but it came across as too one-sided to be fulfilling on its own. And the second, the ending offers no real sense of closure. I’m ambivalent about it – mostly because I think that it’s a line that will be tugged on in future books – but some people may be bothered by it considering the entire book was a lead-up to a resolution that isn’t fully realized.
This isn’t a series that I’ll rush right out to get my hands on future installments, but by the same token I know I’ll read the next book, possibly continuing onward if the series fulfills the potential of this first title.