May 10, 2013

Book Review - Disappearing Nightly

Disappearing Nightly
Esther Diamond, Book 1
Laura Resnick

This edition published 2011

DAW Fantasy, Mass Market Paperback, 386 p.
ISBN: 978-07564-0766-7

From the back cover...

"I'm not a heroine; I just play heroines.  Also psychotics, orphans, vamps, hookers, and housewives..."

Thus begins the first fantastical misadventure of Esther Diamond, a struggling actress who seems destined to  attract supernatural mayhem.

When bizarre magical disappearances disrupt performances in the Big Apple, Esther receives a mysterious warning not to go on with her off-Broadway show.

Desperate to say on stage rather than resort to waiting tables, Esther turns to her new BFF, Dr. Maximillian Zadok, a 350-year-old mage whose day job is protecting New York from Evil.  Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery without losing her job, Esther and Max team up with a conjuring cowboy, a banker with stage aspirations, and a flock of fearless drag queens.  Also on the case is Detective Connor Lopez, a sexy cop who has a thing for Esther, but who fearsthat she and Max may be a bigger problem than the vanishing performers.
Since the show must go on - and the astronomical rent must be paid - Esther, Max, and their friends pursue Evil to its lair in their fearless determination to find the missing performers and restore harmony to the city that never sleeps. 

Here are some of my thoughts about this title at random.
** Spoilers might be included **

Firstly, I loved the cover art!

Esther Diamond is a great leading lady.  Smart, funny, strong, independent and willful.  Just how I like my heroines.  She is very much aware of our hunky detective, Connor Lopez, and it's sweet to watch them tiptoe and flirt around each other as they try to suss each other out.  Det. Lopez is gorgeous, smart and sees just enough to know that he's not getting the full story out of Esther and Max.  He knows something is going on with Esther, but just can't quite put his finger on the cause.  I wonder how long it will take him to finally figure out the truth?

Some of the names the characters sported were quite corny, but that's part of what made them so memorable.  I mean, who could forget a woman with a name like Golly Gee?  Is it any wonder with a name like that that she was such a diva!  The drag queens were a laugh and a half.  Fabulous names, and not your stereotypical queens either.  Loved the meeting between the gang and Lopez at the bookstore.  Our Johnny-come-lately mage, Lysander, was such a stick in the mud.  Someone really needs to pull that stick right out of his tush.  Oh, and Hieronymus - yet another great name - is wonderfully annoying as the lisping assistant mage.  

I could keep going on about how this book engaged me, but it would be simpler (and a whole lot shorter) if I just put it down like this:

  • great characters
  • fast paced
  • wonderful storyline
  • great moments - such as Connor's revelation to Esther about how his brother's have dodged the 'matchmaking and nagging mother' routine
  • all the secondary characters have enough of a personality to have a life of their own outside of their part in the dialogue.

  • too many voices at times!  All those secondary characters seem to overwhelm a reader (especially if you're reading into the wee hours of the morning like someone I won't name ;-D )
  • what happened to Matilda?  She was such a vocal and fiery character - getting into verbal tussles with Esther - then, poof!.... she disappeared about half way through?  I thought she might have had a hand in it at one point.  Can't have a great character you love to hate, then loose them part way through.
  • I also didn't like the way Lopez portrayed Esther to his mother during that phone call
  • There was not enough of Det. Lopez in the story.   Perhaps in the next book he's got more page time
  • I didn't think that both our main characters, Esther and Lopez, needed to have the annoying, nagging mothers.  Overkill!
  • Our resident mage, Maximilian, is very bumbling at times.  For a 350 year old, you'd think he'd have a mind, and tongue, as sharp as a razor.
  • Okay, I'll say it.  Hieronymus was a prat!  Enough said.
  • No romance!  All we got was one lousy kiss!

So, these are my thoughts on Disappearing Nightly.  A wonderful start to a collectable series.  When I first started reading it last night, I was struck by how similar in style it was to Carole Nelson Douglas' 'Delilah Street' series.  If you like Esther Diamond, then you'll love Delilah Street.

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