Monday, July 11, 2011

Hand in Glove...

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the book in the Curse Worker’s Trilogy: White Cat.

Red Glove (Curse Workers Book # 2) by Holly Black:

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

Summary from GoodReads.

After the events in White Cat, Cassel Sharpe spends the summer in Atlantic City reluctantly pulling cons with his mother and actively trying to avoid his feelings for Lila. The start of school is a chance to once again escape from everyone except his friends and embrace the normal, or at least for Cassel to con himself into believing that normal is what he wants.

But with just two shots a blurry figure with red gloves rips his fabricated existence apart – bringing the FBI in to investigate the loss of an informant and upping the pressure from Zacharov to join the ranks of the family. Cassel will have to con the government, the Mob and those he loves if he’s going to survive.

Only the ultimate con just might include telling the truth.

I cannot stress how much I enjoy this series. Black has created a gritty world where the magic of the curse workers is so easily and deeply entwined with our own, and provided us with an engaging, sarcastic character to guide us through.

I can’t tell who Cassel is working harder to con: the characters around him, the mob, or both the reader and himself into believing he doesn’t care. As with the first book, we are treated to his rapid, noir narration, but Black continues to grow his struggle with his dark side and the maneuvers he is willing to make for family, friends and love. Cassel is growing*and that growth extends to his moral ambiguity. He’s no longer the only Sharpe without the touch and every move he makes forces him to deal with the death he’s dealt in the past.

Not surprising, since the lack of bodies isn’t keeping anyone from asking questions.

Black’s tight narration once again impresses by the ease at which it comes across, and builds upon the revelations of the first book’s revelations. While he may currently be the smartest guy in the room, it’s clear that Cassel won’t be able to keep conning everyone forever.

Highly recommended for adult fans of mystery and paranormal (the Dresden Files specifically) and anyone who enjoys a good con.

You can purchase Red Glove from these fine retailers: Powells, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Your Local Indie, or you can pick it up at your local library.

Book Source: I borrowed my copy from the library as soon as I finished White Cat. I’ll buy the whole series once they are out in paperback.  

*As a character in a series should, damn it. I’m looking at you, Plum.

No comments: