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I Belong

Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

Title: This Case is Gonna Kill Me

Author: Phillipa Bornikova

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Law

Series: Linnet Ellory (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Format: Paperback, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765326825 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765326829 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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….

Quick & Dirty: Paranormal legal urban fantasy set in a richly detailed world but with a character that is hard to connect with and many questions left unanswered this novel may not appeal to all.

Opening Sentence: “This case is gonna kill me.”

Excerpt: Chapter 1, Chapter 2

The Review:

Fresh out of college, Linnet Ellory gets the opportunity to work for one of the best law firms in New York City. She is given the worst job as a lawyer, working on a case that has been in and out of court for over seventeen years. The Abercrombie case is a dispute over who legally inherits a multi-million dollar company. Then Chip, Linnet’s mentor and the lawyer that has been on the case since the beginning, is brutally killed one night leaving Linnet as the sole heir to working on this case. Linnet takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of why Chip was killed. She begins to investigate the cases that Chip was working on at the time of his death, although she is pretty sure that the Abercrombie case is behind his untimely demise.

This Case is Gonna Kill Me is one novel that I can’t really decide how much I enjoyed the novel. There was nothing I really hated about this novel but at the same time there wasn’t anything that really stood out and made me say “wow!” The novel is less an urban fantasy and more a paranormal legal mystery. There are a few instances of action scenes that break up all the legal jargon and slow case work. There were parts of the novel that completely engrossed me but then there were other scenes that I felt should have been trimmed down. Miss Bornikova is very detailed with the legal work and the horse training/riding really show a love for the sport.

The world that is built up is richly detailed but also quite sexist. Vampires, werewolves, and elves are known to the world. The first two are all men, women are not allowed to be changed and if a woman is bitten that is an automatic death sentence. But the question as to why females cannot be changed is left to the imagination and never quite answered just yet. I’m sure those secrets will be revealed in time.

Linnet is a smart and sassy woman but she makes some really questionable choices throughout the book even though all she wants to do is the right thing. I had a hard time connecting with her character. I wanted to feel sorry for her and the events she was put through but it was some of those stupid decisions she would make that would put me off. Thankfully, Linnet is one lucky woman and manages to survive without much skill.

This Case is Gonna Kill Me is definitely for fans of legal dramas and horses. Read this novel for the exceptional worldbuilding. The book title really does fit the events of the novel but I can’t help feeling that something was missing. Hopefully the next book in the series, Box Office Poison, will fill in all the little questions I had with this world.

Notable Scene:

The elongated snout wrinkled, the lips drawing back even more, and saliva dripped from the fangs. The rank scent of werewolf filled my nose. I cringed back, preparing to die. In my peripheral vision, I caught a glimpse of something falling. It was more instinct then conscious thought—I threw out my hand, hoping to ward it off, and ended up catching it.

There werewolf, jaws snapping, leaped at me. I threw one arm across my face and thrust out my hand as if I could fend him off. It didn’t work. The creature landed on me, but almost immediately went limp. Sticky, warm wetness flowed over my hand and arm, and a new smell joined the rank animal scent. It was cloying, coppery, and almost sweet. The werewolf lay on top of me. Gagging, I pushed him aside. A dagger protruded from his chest. That was what I’d caught. I would never have had the strength to drive home the dull replica weapon. The werewolf had done it himself with inertia and his own weight. I stared down at the blood coating my hand and arm.

I killed somebody! I killed somebody! I killed somebody! Oh, holy fuck, I killed somebody!

Linnet Ellory Series:

1. This Case is Gonna Kill Me

2. Box Office Poison

FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of This Case is Gonna Kill Me. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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