Article first published as Book Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova on Blogcritics.
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Tor Books
Age Group: Adult
“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…”
Set in New York City, This Case is Gonna Kill Me is an urban fantasy novel by Phillipa Bornikova that features vampires, werewolves, and fairies. Bornikova challenges the romanticized image of vampires, werewolves, and other mythical creatures in today’s literature. Her novel draws the reader in with its fast-paced and addicting suspense, rather than with romance and coy characters.
The protagonist, Linnet, is a sassy and outspoken woman who adds personality to the story line. Bornikova’s passion for horses translates onto the pages and helps move the plot along.
Linnet’s reactions to the sexism in her world also makes her a reliable character. When faced with the challenge of empowering women in her law firm, she manages to give the women in the novel back their voices. Though she has moments where she questions her identity, Linnet does not waver when it comes to proving her worth.
Bornikova adopts the expected romance of the urban fantasy genre, flirts with the endless possibilities around Linnet, and shrivels up any cliched expectations for the reader. By having other supernatural beings enter Linnet’s romantic life, Bornikova offers a different perspective of what could happen in a world where the female protagonist does not automatically choose the vampire.
The novel brings to light how ridiculous it is to glorify vampires, especially when they are monsters with ulterior motives. This Case is Gonna Kill Me also moves beyond the overused “Vampire Meets Girl” plot line. In fact, Bornikova focuses more on the action in the quickly paced plot than the hints of romance in the story.
The mysterious aspect of the plot is at times predictable, but not to the point where the reader will get annoyed. Bornikova manages to create an enthralling story, despite the difficulties of creating effective plot twists in suspense and mystery novels.
This Case is Gonna Kill Me is a fast-paced and sexy story that will have readers laughing and cringing at the same time. Bornikova’s realistic dialogue will have the reader connecting with the characters, while the riveting suspense will have him/her wishing s/he could join Linnet as she works her dangerous case.
I give Phillipa Bornikova’s This Case is Gonna Kill Me: