LV48 (Cassie Tam Files #3), Matt Doyle
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Publisher: NineStar Press
Tags: Futuristic, Lesbian MC, Private Investigator, Tech Shifters, Background Romance, Series
Length: 223 Pages
New Hopeland City may be the birthplace of Tech Shifter gear, but it isn’t the only place that likes to blend technology with folklore. Now, a new nightmare is stalking the streets…
When PI Cassie Tam is attacked on the way home one night, she expects the police to get involved. What she doesn’t expect is to be forced into acting as bait to lure out a lunatic in a tech-suit that’s literally out for blood. But past actions have consequences, and doing so may be the only way she can get a clean slate from the city’s law makers.
If only that didn’t mean having to face down a wannabe vampire.
The well named LV48 is another interesting story from the world of PI Cassie Tam. This time there’s a Tech Shifter “vampire” who has wreaked a bit of havoc on several people… so far. The police are calling the recent attacks muggings so as not to cause alarm. After Cassie is attacked one night on her way home from a night out with girlfriend Lori, things change. Cassie is strongly, uh, persuaded into being on the team of the New Hopeland Police Department to help crack this case.
My head drops, and I rub my eyes. “I can’t believe this.”
“Believe it, Caz. Right now, if we want to prevent more attacks, you’re the best shot we have.”
Cassie remembers more than some of the others who have been attacked before her. Being a PI means she’s used to focusing on all the details of an event, even one as difficult as this. So, Cassie joins Captain Hoover, Corporal Devereaux and Lt. Hanson, and, now, Donal O’Brien – the Marshal of the Tech Shifter Division – who happens to be a hybrid wolf. None of this is easy for Cassie because the TS Murders Files placed a strong fear of Tech Shifters into her psyche, and this vampire attack has ratcheted it up.
Cassie is going to be used as bait by the NHPD to see whether there is something more they need to know about why this is happening. A phial of blood was left at the scene where Cassie was attacked when the LV was interrupted. It also appears a tracker is left in the victims. The priority is obviously to stop this TS, and to do what they need to find out if the attacks are opportunistic or something more organised. Cassie doesn’t do a lot of the same things on any given day, but what about the other people who have been targeted by the LV? Is the type of work they do something they have in common? Is there a possible link to the underground and Fuerza? Which means there could be another link in there to the Kings of Utah. All roads in this series seem to lead to The Four Kings, but the Tech Shifter world is an integral part of New Hopeland as well. Much like the underground and synth drugs. It will be very interesting to see where this eventually ends up.
Bert also has some interesting personality traits developing that has Cassie going to Familiar Enterprises. She wants to work out why he’s behaved or is behaving the way he has been on a few recent cases. The story of how Cassie came to have such a rare, expensive, and protective familiar was also given some page time. I’m all for anything to do with Cassie’s AI gargoyle. From the first time Bert appeared on page in book #1, Addict, I loved him. Here, he is Bert the ever vigilant sentinel, looking out Cassie’s window on her behalf, or Burt taking on a vampire, biting off a chunk of an ear, even a bit of handy plumbing is nothing for her gargoyle. Caw, Bert. You continue to be awesome.
Lori wasn’t in this book much, but the connection between Cassie and her girlfriend is given some more depth, a bit more warmth. Cassie made some major inroads in accepting Ink, Lori’s panther Tech Shifter persona. This case makes her think more intently about why she’s been so apprehensive to accept Ink previously rather than just rolling with it. It’s something that has been in the way of their growing relationship. I liked this aspect of Cassie – her vulnerability, along with her feelings of affection toward Lori that she usually shuts down. But this is not a romance series, it’s very much in the background, it’s about the detective/PI work.
The Cassie Tam Files is a different series to a lot of others in queer fiction. This is a futuristic tech world with a strong, intelligent (lesbian) female lead, a working PI, who is never portrayed as anything more than capable and ethical in both her actions and words. She also doesn’t back down from trouble and she rolls her sleeves up in a fight. She is still developing further as a character, the most thus far is seen in LV48.
I find Charlie, Cassie’s ex-girlfriend, interesting. She’s an Elite, a synth dealer. It was nice to catch up with her and to see Cassie meet Jody, Charlie’s new girlfriend. In the beginning I felt Cassie had more feelings for Charlie than for Lori but that’s now put to bed in LV48. Charlie is helpful to Cassie, she understands her job because she’s very much a part of the New Hopeland underground herself, and Cassie deals with the underground regularly. I also really like how adult everyone is in this series. It’s nice to read.
In book #2, The Fox, the Dog, and the King, there’s fantastically detailed information on Tech Shifters at the end, including diagrams. Likewise at the end of LV48, there’s the ‘initial report of the LV Tech’ by Lt. Devereaux’, a thorough look at this specific TS. Once again Matt Doyle writes afterword details that are comprehensive, vibrant, and show a love of this world – it’s awesome. The Cassie Tam Files is a different world and series, one where I’m feeling increasingly at home. 4.5 Stars.
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