Review: Doppelgangster (Esther Diamond Series Book 2) by Laura Resnick
All Esther really wants is to land acting jobs, get to have a normal date with Detective Connor Lopez, and bring in enough tips working as a waitress while waiting for that big break to make the rent. Instead she has to call in her friend Dr. Maximillian Zadok to help her when she sees something impossible that can only mean one thing: Evil has once again happened right before her eyes. Can’t a girl just get a call from her agent that she’s landed a big time acting job? Doppelgangster is a GraveTells Must Read!
- Title: Doppelgangster
- Series: Esther Diamond book #2
- Author: Laura Resnick
- Prominent Characters: Esther, Connnor, Max, Lucky Battistuzzi
- Recommended reader age: 16+
- Sexual content level: light
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
From the moment I cracked this book open I was laughing out loud. It made me a little mad at myself for letting it sit on my shelf for so long. (I picked it up at one of Border’s store closing sales.) The entire first chapter had me chortling to myself like a deranged mental patient. My husband has long since stopped asking me what I’m laughing about or why I’m laughing when I read. He just shakes his head and wanders off, realizing that there will be no attention (or perhaps even dinner) when I’m off and running with a book that affects me that way. He’s a smart man.
I didn’t realize that this book is actually the second in the series until I started to look for more books with Esther in them. That said, you can jump right in without feeling in any way lost or confused with the plot. It is well constructed, funny, inventive, and original. The characters each have their own distinct voices and personalities, which is good considering that there are a fair amount of “wise guys” as the plot expands toward the denouement. Sometimes an author gets lost in character soup and the reader is scratching their head wondering who is who and just what the heck is going on. Not so in Doppelgangster.
The banter between Esther, Max, and Lucky (a mob wiseguy) is some of the funniest I’ve ever seen on the page. There are plenty of misunderstandings involving context and word use that had me giggling, especially between Max and Lucky. Esther is left trying to be a translator between the two and reading them playing verbal volleyball is really entertaining.
The mystery in this novel had me immediately along for the ride and I was pleasantly surprised by how it resolved. I thought that I had it figured out at least twice and was wrong both times. So kudos to the author for a well constructed story line that I didn’t have figured out right away. There’s nothing worse than a mystery that you’ve solved five chapters in.
The sexual tension between Esther and her love interest Detective Lopez is smokin’. He’s a real cutie pie, with his own smarts that tell him Esther knows more than she’s letting on, but he is secure enough to sit back and wait until she asks for help. He does try to do the alpha male thing, but gives up pretty quickly when he sees that Esther just can’t be caged in. He knows that she’s in the thick of things, but can’t get her to give him answers that he can swallow (or that his bosses would buy either). That being said, it doesn’t stop him from trying to get her into bed and out of her clothes. Connor knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it.
Esther is a witty, engaging heroine that I had fun spending time with. She’s a bit self absorbed in her pursuit of her acting career, but I think it is a reflection of her ability to focus on what she wants and drive to succeed. Esther is also smart, resourceful, and a good friend to have on your side. All in all a cool chick!
Let’s just boil it down to the nitty-gritty here.
“His doppelganger?” I repeated. ”I’ve heard the word, but…” I shrugged to indicate that my familiarity with it stopped there.
“Understandable,” said Max. ”It’s a very rare phenomenon, and the study of German mythology doesn’t seem to have deeply absorbed your generation in the New World.”
“Kids these days,” Lucky said, shaking his head. ”If it ain’t on MTV, it don’t exist.”
“Indeed,” said Max. ”Plus ‘doppelganger’ is hard to spell.”
“Oh, you’re shopping? Okay, since you’re busy, I’ll make this fast. I was thinking I’d come by tomorrow afternoon for a few hours of hot sex–you know, the kind that makes the neighbors complain about the noise. And then I’ll take you out to dinner. Or maybe we’ll just order out. We’ll play it by ear after we’ve exhausted each other. Deal?”
Gotta keep our parents happy and with plenty of things to brag about
“Actually I am. But things are looking up, Mom. I just got cast as a homeless bisexual junkie prostitute.”
“How nice,” she said.
“On a TV show,” I said.
“Oh, good. This way a maximum number of people nationwide can see my daughter in that persona.”
If you liked Doppelgangster of the Esther Diamond Series:
If you enjoyed Doppelgangster, you might also like the Nicki Styx series by Terri Garey for its plucky heroine and mix of danger and humor.
You might also enjoy the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison. Rachel is constantly finding herself in hot water and over matched by bad guys but finds a way to save herself through means fair and foul when she has to. (DVK was underwhelmed by book one, Dead Witch Walking, but the series really gets sooo much better after the starter novel, I promise you. I own the entire thing!)
Doppelgangster is a really great book. I’m excited to read the next in the series, Unsympathetic Magic, to see if Esther and Connor finally get the full Smex Beam treatment and what kind of adventure the author comes up with next. It was refreshing to read about a heroine who is an average girl — no special magical powers, no super sexy looks (she’s pretty, but not a femme bot), has a job and has to make the rent — with friends and family who do what to her what ours do to us. Call at inopportune times, nag, and come riding to the rescue. This ties up in the end well and keeps you laughing and wondering what’s going to happen next from chapter to chapter. Doppelgangster is a GraveTells Must Read!