Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

September 6, 2012 Review 4

This Case is Gonna Kill Me

by Phillipa Bornikova

Genre: Urban Fantasy |
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Publisher

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; September 4, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 0765326825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326829


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.

Sexual Content

Sex scenes.


What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.

Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.

But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe…


It is clear that THIS CASE IS GONNA KILL ME is just the beginning for Linnet Ellery. A quirky mix of privilege and loneliness, I had a hard time bonding with her as more than just the narrator describing a great world. Still, Linnet is the sort of person who listens to that inner voice that tells to do the right thing (even when that means going head to head with a murderous werewolf with nothing more than hairspray), and I like her and her world well enough to be eager for more.

Linnet’s point of view makes for a unique reading experience. Her pedantic descriptions of how things work would have turned me off if it weren’t so intriguing to try and figure out what was going on beneath the surface. As a vampire fosterling, the way Linnet sees the world is definitely not the whole story. It’s clear that she has the potential to shake things up in future books, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Vampires, Hunters, and the Linnet’s mysterious luck.

While the plot and world building were top notch, they definitely outperformed the heroine for me. Despite some great external dialogue, Linnet’s point of view remains pretty stiff and flat throughout. Despite efforts to give her a well rounded personality, something about her was missing.  For every scene where I warmed up to her, there would be a digression that took me back to square one. Her relationships, both good and bad, don’t really click for me. I’m not sure if it was intentional to keep her and her prospective hero a little out of step with each other, but that detracted from my interest in their future.

THIS CASE IS GONNA KILL ME establishes a very interesting open world where male-only vampires and werewolves live among us. Blending a little bit of old man crotchetiness into the “all powerful creature of the night” archetype really worked for me, and I’m very excited to learn more about their secrets. While Linnet can be funny and admirable, she didn’t quite come together as a character for me.  However, I certainly liked her well enough to hope there’s more to come.

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

  1. erinf1

    thanks for a great review! I was on this fence about this one… since it’s trade (and the price a bit high for paperback or ebook) I might just wait for this one to go on sale or hit the used bookstore.

    • Julia

      Yeah, if the excerpt doesn’t sell it, I’d definitely recommend waiting on this one. The world is cool, and Bornikova puts a lot of passion into Linnet (the author has got to have a background in riding, as Linnet is all about horses), but something didn’t quite click for me on the character side.

  2. Elin

    Thanks. Love the cover and your review:) Never heard about this book. This I need to read sometime:)