What is this about?: Linnet Ellery is a young lawyer on her first day of work at a prestigious vampire law firm. She finds herself assigned to Chip, a good-hearted lawyer, working on an immense will probate case for 17 years, much to her displeasure. But soon enough, Linet finds herself in charge of the case, and trying to fix family problems while outrunning werewolves.
What else is this about?: Part of me thinks this is a commentary on the male-dominated prestigious firms that don’t promote females, which to be quite frank, could use a kick up their butts. There’s mention of sexism women face in this urban fantasy world, and as Linnet tries to navigate it, we see she’s sick of it too. Book one is focused on building this world for readers, while Linnett herself is embroiled in the case.
What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. 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…
This Case is Gonna Kill Me is set in a world where the powers – vampires, werewolves and the Alfar (fae) — roam freely among humans, take jobs, establish firms and refuse to make a female partner because that’s entirely against the rules according to them.
Given Linnet has just started at a law firm, in a job that will never see her make partner, it’s a bit frustrating to say the least, but in her head, she has made to where she wants to be and for now, she’s going to enjoy that. Until she gets assigned to Chip and the lodestone that is the Abercrombie case.
Abercrombie (whose first name I can’t remember) was a werewolf who created one of the world’s largest private security companies. He divorced his human wife along the way, and now she is contesting the right of the werewolf her husband made, David, to assume control of the company that should be hers and her human children’s.
Cue a probate battle for 17 years, until Linnet comes along to help Chip. And then Chip gets literally torn apart by a werewolf and the case gets infinitely more complicated.
Linnet finds herself investigating Chip’s death and trying to find out if David and his powerful firm, were behind it. But as her investigation progresses, she finds out that Abercrombie has more heirs waiting, and they’re in danger too as David seems intent on solidifying his control of an almost-billion-dollar company.
Linnet Ellery is not your average lawyer
Linnet is a charming protagonist, beset by insecurities and fitting in at an expensive law firm, and struggling to let her confident self shine through. She makes mistakes along the way in this male-dominated firm, but she owns them and takes control of her narrative in her office back from the rumours and innuendo that threatened to follow her.
We are introduced to her friends and her family, and this is where things get interesting – she was fostered from the age of 8 with a vampire liege, sent to live with him by her father, though the book never makes quite clear what the vampire will get out of it. She does wonder about the business contacts her father gets out of it though.
Her parents are entirely the opposite of each other – her mother is flighty, and she doesn’t have much of a relationship with her, while her father is the solid one, the one who makes all the decisions – like sending her to live with her vampire liege, Bainbridge. I don’t even recall the book saying anything about what her mother said about her father sending to her live with Bainbridge. I feel like there’s a story there we haven’t been told yet.
Vampires, werewolves and fae, oh my
This is a society where the powers rule, so to speak. They own the prestigious firms, and are so old fashioned that it is frustrating for a modern human to deal with them, especially if they haven’t lived with one like Linnet did. She is a wonderful choice of an educator in a way, letting her colleagues and us know at the same time the rules of vampire and other power etiquette.
The firm too is another inspired choice to show us the politics of life and work with the powers, and while by all accounts it seems like a normal firm, there are quirks that are brought in that remind you of these differences, without sounding like exposition. The same with the cases she deals with – human or powers.
The one thing that gave me pause with this is the quick-fast falling in love with the firm’s fae PI – and then shuffling off to Fae-land in an effort to save Linnet and her clients, but leaves him stuck there. Linnet’s love for him isn’t the problem, but emotionally, I’m guessing she’s going to be worried for him, and work towards getting him out of there, which kind of constrains her I think. If she isn’t, she’s pretty cold, isn’t she? See, this is why sticking him in Fae land didn’t work for me.
That said, there is much said and unsaid in this world and the worldbuilding that hints at some wonderful potential for the series.