Laura Resnick – “Disappearing Nightly”

11 Dec

GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PUBLISHED: Luna Books, 2006

The back blurb:
“I’m not a heroine – I just play one. Along with psychotics, vamps, housewives and hookers. As my agent is fond of pointing out, there are more actors in New York than there are people in most other cities. Translation: beggars can’t be choosers.
This explains how I wound up prancing around stage half naked the night Golly Gee – the female lead in the off-Broadway show ‘Sorcerer!’ – disappeared into thin air. Literally.
Now other performers are also vanishing, and a mysterious stranger is warning me:
There is evil among us. But the producers want me to take over Golly’s part.
Looks as if I’m going to need a little magical help if I want to keep my starring role …”

I liked other novels by Laura Resnick, so I was interested in reading this one.

Disappearing Nightly tells the story of Esther Diamond’s search for persons gone missing in vanishing acts on stage in New York. It’s told in first person and is often written in a humorous way that worked for me:

“I despise movies where the heroine is threatened and simply ignores it, acting as if there’s nothing to worry about. I mean, if you got a mysterious note telling you not to go into the attic, and you knew the last person who’d gone into the attic had gotten into a whole lot of trouble – well, would you really just shrug, toss the note aside, and head for the attic without another thought?
If you would, then frankly, you’re the kind of person who deserves what’s going to happen to you up there.
So naturally, when I received my mysterious threatening note, I gave it my full attention.” (p. 15)

I liked that Resnick tried to bring humour and fun into urban fantasy, and I found the mix of screwball comedy and this setting interesting and refreshing. The heroine often finds herself in quite hilarious situations and I had fun reading this novel.

Naturally, what worked best for me was Esther’s interaction with the detective assigned to the missing-performers case. His name is Connor Lopez, and – as one of the other characters always says – “he’s hot.” Sadly, Esther and Connor don’t have as much screen time together as I would’ve liked. But this is a paranormal, not a romance so I can’t really complain. The goal of the scenes between Esther and Connor is to show their attraction to each other. And that is something which Resnick did very well.

There are parts I found a bit slow in reading. This happened after Esther found “magical help” and often when Esther, and all the other secondary characters, worked on solving the case. These other characters involved in I thought just a bit too contrived and colourful in their design to be funny. So here the screwball-like interaction fell a bit flat. But that is a matter of taste and overall I really appreciate what Laura Resnick tried to do here.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Probably not.

Grade: 3,5 / 5


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