Note: Some possible spoilers in the following review.
The second book of the Paranormal Scene Investigations series (after Hard Magic) finds Bonita Torres and the Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations (PUPI) team still settling down months after the events of their last case. Tensions between people - both with Talent and those without - and the Fatae has never been that settled, but an attack on a young woman with her Fatae companion, which results in the death of one of the attackers, quickly devolves from an open-and-shut case to one that will challenge everyone's notion of who is telling the truth. Especially when dealing with a magical creature that cannot tell a lie.
Neither the Cosa nor the Fatae seem too concerned about pursuing the facts any further, so it is up to Bonnie and her "pack" to determine what actually happened. As Bonnie continues to deal with her growing connection with Ben Venec, one that challenges her senses on all levels, the PUPI team pits their talents - and Talent - against the walls of silent victims, secret plans and increasing resentments between races. This time PUPI is brought a case that could destroy any chance they have to continue operating, or one that may finally prove their worth.
Laura Anne Gliman has woven a well-told tale of race relations and sexual assault he-said-she-said with a newer paranormal twist. Bonnie is a strong young woman who is willing to stay true to herself and how she lives her life, even while building her place with this not-quite-officially-sanctioned investigative team. I have not read the first book of the series, but am familiar with Gilman's other series in this alternate reality (Retrievers). I found the development of all the characters fine but the running secondary storyline -with Aden Stosser setting up further sabotage against her brother Ian's PUPI team - made me wish I had already read Hard Magic so I knew the previous events better.
The developments between Venec and Bonnie, as their connection in emotions and Talent increases in ways that are unexpected, definitely throw a conflict into the working of the team. Bonnie does not want to get involved in an "office relationship", Venec is struggling with his attraction to Bonnie, and I see these two already very similar to Wren and Sergei (from the Retrievers series) in their interactions. It also made me wonder where the series will go with Bonnie's professed bisexuality, now that she has gotten involved with both Venec and Pietr. That said, I do look forward to seeing what happens next, and if Bonnie stays as true to her personal beliefs and values as her bond with Venec grows.
Having read many of Laura Anne Gilman's other books (the Retrievers series and Flesh and Stone, first of the Vineart War trilogy), I was thrilled to be able to receive this ebook galley. Thanks to NetGalley and Luna for making it happen!
Title: Pack of Lies (Paranormal Scene Investigations #2)
Author: Laura Anne Gilman
Date: January 2011
Read: NetGalley ebook