I’ve got way behind on my book blogging again recently, so a catch-up post for a series instead of dealing wth them all separately.

More urban fantasy again. The main character of this one is a former low-level thief and grifter with a talent for psychometry: the ability to psychically read the history of an object. He’s recruited to the New York Department of Extraordinary Affairs and does his best to go straight, though he still uses his talent to make extra money on the side, just without crossing the lines. There are some shades of the Laundry Files, with much more of an American slant to it, of course. The eldritch horrors of cultists, zombies, ghosts, vampires and sundry other bumps in the night are counterpoised with budget constraints, huge towering piles of paperwork, the Mayor’s Office of Plausible Deniability and management training courses.

In the first installment Simon Canderous, the aofrementioned psychometrist, has to deal with cultists gone mainstream: the Sectarian Defense League (cultists with a good PR agent) are planning some nasty shenanigans from their office in the Empire State Building and during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the meantime they send a fomer temp now benefits-enabled office worker to spy on and perhaps assassinate Simon. That works out well for him since they turn on her when she fails, and since she was only ever in it for the dental coverage she also turns, to him in more ways than one.

In the second installment, Simon’s past catches up with him and one of his former criminal associates gets him mixed up in something which seems just criminal at first but turns out to be intimately linked to the previous case. In the process Simon falsely triggers a vampire alert, but right at the end does encounter a vampire being tortured by the bad guy by being kep in vaporous state and unable to reform.

This turns out to be a major plot element of installment number three where we find out ust why vampires hadn’t been seen in the city for over two years. It’s not that they were gone, it’s that they have turned into a different sort of nasty. I’m rather unsure of this turn. It nicely pays off a mystery about SImon’s partner’s past which was introduced in the first book, but it’s a bit cliched these days to have vampires turn non-evil, but also the idea that  vampires who spent centuries being blood-thirsty vicious beasts should be forgiven is morally rather dubious. I don’t think he quite pulls this off.

The fourth installment slightly reminds me of Jim Butcher’s “Proven Guilty” in which much of the action takes place at a Horror movie convention. This one starts with the death by supernatural causes of a professor of film at NYU, who turns out to have been a partner of Simon’s boss thirty years before. The main plotline is quite nice in this one, but I think the personal denouement at the end may mean this series ust jumped the shark – the whole vampire girlfriend thing is very hard to get right and too easy to screw up badly.

I’ll see what the next one is like, but this may have gone off the rails at this point.