So let’s say you’re an actress living and (occasionally) working in New York City. It can be lonely, it can be demanding, it can be the time of your life. Until the woman you’re an understudy for disappears in the middle of her act! But no worries, it’s a magic act. She’s supposed to go into that box and disappear, then come back on stage a few minutes later.
Yeah, one small issue with that. Seems like this time she’s gone for good!
All that happens to Esther Diamond in Disappearing Nightly, the first book in a series that chronicles her misadventures in the Big Apple. It turns out women have been disappearing rather permanently all over the city, and the police, including the handsome Conner Lopez, are starting to get worried.
But they’re not the only ones. Doctor Maximilian Zadok is a master wizard, and he’s worried that the women aren’t just disappearing they’re actually being abducted by an evil wizard. He convinces Esther not to fill in for the missing leading lady and takes her on as a sort of girl Friday. Once you pass your third century keeping up with the times can get difficult, after all, and having a spunky young lass who’s familiar with the more technological aspects of society is nice.
In addition to the disappearances, Esther will wind up getting dragged into, or dragging Max and Conner into, incidents with Dopplegangsters, zombies, polterheists and Lithuanians. In a reversal of the usual urban fantasy set up, Esther is the only person in the primary cast with no paranormal abilities at all. Oh sure, she’s been close enough to weird goings on to spot them when things get started but she’s not in the big leagues, at least not yet.
Laura Resnick’s Esther Diamond series offers a nice blend of adventure and mystery. Each one of Esther’s stories focuses on a crime of some sort that’s been accomplished with the help of magic. Each flavor of crime is different, abduction, murder, theft, more murder, you get the picture. And each one is solved with a combination of Esther’s snooping, Max’s background information and Lopez’s meddling. (Lopez most decidedly does not believe in magic.)
While they’re not mysteries in the form of detective stories of police procedurals, they are a good time and are worth checking out if you enjoy mystery cozies with a paranormal twist.