The pieces are all there for Laura Anne Gilman’s Tricks of the Trade. Your enjoyment will simply depend on your tastes as a reader. If you want mystery, there is tons of it. If you want mythical creatures, you get that too with a little comedy along the way. Basically, it delivers what it promises. Our protagonists are detectives of the PUPI (Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations) organization. It’s supposed to be pronounced as “puppy”, but my Kindle’s text-to-speech doesn’t seem to understand that. I’ll let you guess what it sounds like instead, but I can say that I got in a few immature chuckles at first. Anyway, these detectives have magical powers which allow them to solve paranormal cases. Interestingly enough, electronics interfere with their magic use, so they can’t use them. There are two cases: one is a murder mystery surrounding a murder/break-in, while the other looks to be an even bigger issue with an ancient creature targeting them.
To get to the bottom of everything they of course hit snags along the way, both professionally and personally. The POV switches between the main character, Bonnie, and her boss and reluctant love-interest, Venec. I usually don’t read a lot of books that switch between POVs and I found it a little confusing at times. It may have been because the ARC I received was not formatted. The only way I could signal the change was the switch from first person (for Bonnie) to third person (for Venec).
This series is supposedly standalone. They are all from Bonnie’s POV, though you get references to the cases in previous books. So on one hand you don’t necessarily have to start with the first book, but on the other hand that means you may not be able to rely on a lot of development for supporting chracters (aside from the slow going romantic development with Venec of course). Instead you will have to rely on the author’s good story-telling abilities to make the cases interesting.
All in all, it’s a solid read. I think I was personally in the mood for more of the world-building fantasy elements, which is why it wasn’t that enjoyable for me. But as I said before, it just depends on your tastes. It’s definitely worth giving it a try to see if it’s your cup of tea.