Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova


This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa BornikovaThis Case is Gonna Kill Me
Phillipa Bornikova
Published: Sept. 4, 2012 (Tor)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon

Reviewed by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

When Linnet Ellery starts her new job at a top ‘White Fang’ law firm in New York, she has an idea of what’s she’s letting herself in for. With ‘The Powers’ running the corporate world and any vampire or werewolves facing a death penalty for turning a female, this is a male dominated business world. That’s not to say a woman can’t work in it, just don’t expect to make partner. With professional frustration raging between the women and backstabbing between the men, it’s a cutthroat world.

What she wasn’t expecting was to get saddled with a case that’s been dragging for 17 years, a boss who doesn’t understand the term filing and a set of colleagues that have gone all Mean Girls on her. But when a colleague is attacked and killed by a werewolf right in front of her, Linnet is determined to get to the bottom of this case. She soon realizes though that if office politics don’t get her killed, this case just might.

With detailed descriptions of New York and great groundwork for the world building, it’s not difficult to visualize the world in This Case is Gonna Kill Me. As Linnet was fostered in a vampire family from the age of 8, and now works for them, much of ‘supernatural time’ to begin with is spent with vampires. Weres and Álfar (fae) do feature but not as much detail is given about their nature, at least not until later in the book.

Linnet is a smart, hard working, 20-something, who wants make a good impression at her job and still have some form of social life on the outside. I admired Linnet’s resourcefulness and determination to do the right thing. I felt her frustrations and cheered for her when she butted heads with some of her more vindictive colleagues. There is a sweet romantic theme, which I liked but just wish the two characters had had more page time for it to slowly develop.

The idea behind the plot was my favorite thing; it’s an interesting change to the more commonly used cop/P.I. route. My major issue with This Case is Gonna Kill Me is how much time we spend away from the action. The first two-thirds are largely spent navigating office politics or detailing Linnet’s love of horse riding with short bursts of action in between. While I quite enjoyed the legal side of things, I found myself skimming the horse passages as I just wanted to get to the next bit of action. It wasn’t until the last third, when all the leads and clues start to come together and the action really picks up, that I found myself sucked in.

This Case is Gonna Kill Me had some great elements, with a fresh premise and a vivid writing style. The pacing was slightly off for me though, with long breaks between the (fantastically inventive) action sequences. If you’re a fan of legal dramas and are looking for one with a supernatural twist, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Sexual content: Sex

3 Responses to “Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova”

  1. This is one of those cases where a mixed review has sold me the book, so authors should take note: it doesn’t always have to be a 4 or 5-star glowing review! 🙂 I am so interested in the premise of this book, and I do like legal dramas so the review did a great job of telling me the novel could well be for me. Thanks!


    p.s. What’s going on with the cover, do you know? I can’t find this one on any retail sites. Maybe it’s from the ARC and they changed it…

  2. Thanks, Chelsea.

    Maybe TOR UK have a different cover, then. I quite like both but I prefer the one you have here!


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