Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Pros and Cons

by Jenna Black


Pros and Cons is a novella featuring the character of Nikki Glass, a private investigator with supernatural skills. I read this without having any knowledge of the other Nikki Glass novels, but fortunately it stands on its own as a self-contained mystery without the need for too much background explanation. Nikki is a character somewhat in the mould of Anita Blake or Rachel Morgan, a modern woman holding her own against whatever threats come her way, whether it's criminals or something more supernatural.

The story starts with Heather Fellowes, a client who wants Nikki to find a man she says is the father of her unborn child. The search takes Nikki to a high class establishment, where she learns that Heather hasn't been entirely straight with her about her motives or the man she's looking for. The stakes seem fairly low until we discover that the case involves a man with an extremely violent reputation who is squaring up to reinforce it if he doesn't get what he wants.

The first half of this novella is very low fantasy. Apart from Nikki's hunches, it could be a standard modern crime novel. Then we meet Jack, a descendant of the trickster god Loki. Nikki finds Jack annoying and difficult to work with, because he's motivated by a sense of fun more than any consideration for safety or even profit.

I found Pros and Cons to have a very satisfying mystery. Even though it's very short there's room for quite a knotty tangle of twists and con tricks. Nikki Glass is likeable, although she's a fairly standard type of character for the genre: she makes up for her lack of physical stature by being capable and determined. I liked Jack more, due to his unpredictable and mischievous nature. On the whole though this is an entertaining story which is fun, pacy and tightly written. There is some violence, but it's not especially graphic. The story hints at a bigger conflict when we learn that Nikki is concentrating on this case in order to avoid Anderson Kane, an immortal who also seems to be her boss. This thread doesn't go any further than a hint, but I was intrigued by it. The characters and style of this novella were definitely good enough to make me want to explore the rest of the Nikki Glass series.

4th February 2013

Book Details

Year: 2013

Categories: Books

    Female Protagonist  

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