“A thriller that showcases the metaphysical,” reviewer says of Smells Like Weeia Spirit

“A thriller that showcases the metaphysical,” reviewer says of Smells Like Weeia Spirit

Author David Higgins read and reviewed the third book in the Paris Marshals Series. Below, with his permission, is his review.

A pleasing mix of the two genres

Dave Higgins

Boca continues to meld her bespoke variation on urban fantasy with accessible detective action, creating a thriller that showcases the metaphysical without hand-waving away the more routine aspects of investigation.

This novel is the third in the Weeia Marshals series. Possible spoilers ahead.

When a healer calls Marshal Danni Metreaux in following an inexplicable death, Danni isn’t sure whether the death is anything more than an obscure but entirely innocent death by natural causes. Unfortunately, her investigation is stopped almost before it’s started when the headmistress of a Weeia private school demands the Marshals investigate a pupil’s misadventure. A situation made worse by the need for discretion with many pupils being the children of Weeia elite. A situation made worse still by Sebastien—Danni’s subordinate-cum-partner—being an alumnus.

As with the previous two volumes, this book is a police procedural with urban fantasy elements. Ironically perhaps, the presence of magic mostly serves to make the investigation more plausible rather than detract from the tropes of a police procedural; for instance, mystical perceptions justify the rather fast forensic turn around that features in many entirely mundane crime thrillers without removing the need to interpret the results.

However, there are also new techniques and obstacles caused by the existence of magic users; the book is therefore a pleasing mix of the two genres rather than a story that fits neither.

Unfortunately, Boca’s style is somewhat prone to detailed description and to through explanation. Although these bursts of exposition are usually the narrator’s memories being triggered by a location or event—so do not feel forced in merely to educate the reader—the presence of, for example, several long paragraphs on the taxonomy of Weeia power, between a character violently releasing power and the immediate impact of that release does weaken the building tension.

This style might also lead readers to misinterpret the extremes: so many asides containing information that can be useful to understand the world create the expectation that all the details are important, and thus disappointing readers who have tried to integrate, for example, the names of roads taken into a theory of plot; conversely, the presence of such detail creates an impression that the absence of detail is the absence of significance, disappointing readers who had incorrectly discarded a theory because some necessary item or behaviour was not mentioned until later.

Where these expositions do provide clear advantage is in accessibility: readers who either do not recall or have not read Boca’s other books will suffer no confusion.

These niggles of style aside, the plot has a pleasing level of complexity and is free from a sense that plot is driving character rather than the other way around. Thus, while readers might come to the wrong conclusions or curse the characters for not seeing a particular lead, there is neither a single inescapable answer that fits ongoing events nor a circumstance that is unfeasible even in hindsight.

Danni continues to be a sympathetic character, neither too passive in the face of obstacles to be engaging nor able to shrug off disaster without noticeable pause. Her continued ability to separate the better treatment Sebastien receives on account of his social position from his dedication to the Marshals, while still experiencing moments of displaced annoyance, in particular highlights this complexity of character.

The supporting cast are similarly nuanced, with returning characters acting consistently but displaying occasional deviations from the expected—positive and negative—when new circumstances arise.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I recommend it to readers seeking an urban fantasy detective story that focuses more on the investigation than the fantastical.

Dave Higgins, speculative fiction author
(see it and other reviews on his website at https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2019/10/04/smells-like-weeia-spirit-by-elle-boca/)

“Fantastic as always,” says librarian about An American Weeia in Paris

“Fantastic as always,” says librarian about An American Weeia in Paris

Action packed, this mystery has a beautiful backdrop of Paris that only enhances the story.

Erin Cataldi

Elle Boca opens up the latest Weeia Marshals book with a bang and the action never stops! Danni, the acting head of the Paris Weeia office is inside the Eiffel Tower guarding some high ranking American Weeias when suddenly the structure is held hostage by brute men with guns and bombs. They are able to take out some of the enemy, but the real mystery is; who took out the other men? Some lightening fast superhero has been running around Paris and stopping crimes. While that is excellent for Parisians, it’s worrying for Danni because it appears there is a Weeia flaunting their powers, just asking to get caught by human authorities. It’s going to take all her skills (and a little help from her friends) to track down this vigilante. And as if she didn’t have enough on her plate, she has another smaller case to attend to and a huge surprise that will rock her to her very core. Action packed, this mystery has a beautiful backdrop of Paris that only enhances the story. Descriptions of mouthwatering food, her new poodle, and the sights around Paris really make the reader feel at home in this world. Fantastic as always, I can’t wait for the next installment!

Erin Cataldi, librarian and reviewer
See the original post on her website at https://barbarianlibrarian1.blogspot.com/2020/04/an-american-weeia-in-paris.html

Click here to buy An American Weeia in Paris (The Weeia Marshals Book 4)

New! An American Weeia in Paris

New! An American Weeia in Paris

An American Weeia in Paris

Parisians are delighted with the mysterious new superhero that has made the city safe from an out of control plague of robbers and criminals. The superhuman authorities, on the other hand, are non too happy because they suspect the superhero is one of their own, who is violating a prime directive, to keep their identity secret from humans. Danni, acting head of the Paris Weeia office, is tasked with apprehending the rogue superhero. Will she succeed before a well connected upstart beats her to the goal and steals her job?

Check out what others are saying about An American Weeia In Paris

See it on Goodreads

Click here to buy An American Weeia In Paris (The Weeia Marshals Book 4)

Find out about the other books in the series:

Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia

Like one of the Men in Black concealing a race of X-Men, Danni risks her life in the seedy underworld of Paris as a Weeia marshal protecting the secret of their existence.

Sworn to protect the secrets of their race, marshals are trained to police Weeia hiding among humans. After completing her advanced marshal training, Danni is blown away by her new plum assignment to Paris. But, all is not well in the City of Lights; the offices are a shambles, her boss is apathetic, and her predecessors died under mysterious circumstances; it’s almost like somebody doesn’t want the law there.

Weeia on My Mind

Paris marshal Danni Metreaux has her hands full with criminals preying on a local Weeia merchant, a fresh trainee and the happy distraction of a new love interest. Her instincts tell her that a powerful Weeia has been forcing humans to commit a series of crimes, and wiping their victim’s memories, leaving them to human justice. Will Danni be able to discover who is behind the crimes and stop them without losing her own mind?

Smells Like Weeia Spirit

Danni Metreaux, a smart Paris marshal with a point to prove, and Sebastien Poyager, her loyal, wealthy and handsome partner, keep getting called in to deal with superhumans behaving oddly for no apparent reason, and innocent people are dying. Will they be able to find the culprit before more people die and the secret of the Weeia is revealed?

Click here to buy An American Weeia In Paris (The Weeia Marshals Book 4)


Join me for Artists Sunday Nov 29

Join me for Artists Sunday Nov 29

Artist Sunday 2020 poster
Artist Sunday 2020 poster

Join me

For Artists Sunday Nov 29th. It’s like Black Friday for art, including the work of some authors.

I’ve joined artists, including some authors, across the country for the first annual Artists Sunday, a nationwide event, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 29, 2020.

Help us encourage consumers to shop with artists, craftsmen and authors. Think Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday while shopping for art – including authors!

Buy yourself something special and unique this holiday season or gift a new book or artwork to someone in your life. By shopping through Artists Sunday you’re also supporting artists and authors, art and books, some of the things you love.

What I’m Doing On Artists Sunday

Next month I will announce how I’m participating in Artists Sunday. Look for an email, check the Updates on my website or follow me on Twitter.

“A fresh perspective on urban fantasy,” says reviewer about Weeia on My Mind

“A fresh perspective on urban fantasy,” says reviewer about Weeia on My Mind

Author David Higgins read and reviewed the second book in the Paris Marshals Series. Below, with his permission, is his review.

A thriller driven more by ethics and character than flashy powers

Dave Higgins

Boca weaves a fresh perspective on urban fantasy with the very real issues of both policing and covert operations to create a thriller driven more by ethics and character than flashy powers.

This book is the second in Boca’s Weeia Marshals series. There may be spoilers ahead.

When one of the Weeia merchants is threatened by the expansion of a human gang, Marshal Danni Metreaux must find a way to protect him without drawing attention to her people. Already struggling to succeed despite her boss’ refusal to support her, she finds herself unexpectedly burdened with a self-assured trainee; a trainee from the rich and powerful Parisian Weeia society that she is constantly judged for not being a part of. And, to top it off, her new love interest seems to suddenly be avoiding her.

Boca continues her blend of police thriller and urban fantasy, shifting perspective from how to deal with the revelation that Weeia exist to how to protect the Weeia without risking revealing them. This change from silencing those who already know to keeping it a secret creates a new series of ethical and practical problems: is killing a human to avoid financial loss to a Weeia acceptable? Is avoiding risk of exposure always more important than stopping a criminal?

Danni’s possible relationship with Iaen adds a second thread of ethical tension: if she accepts his help, is she obliged to use her position for him if he asks? should an officer of the law date a criminal? And is petty crime for personal gain morally worse than a Marshal killing humans to keep a secret?

Boca infuses explanations and reminders of her world and past events through the story using a combination of conversations and plausible triggers for memories. As such, while those readers with a firm recall of the previous volume and her parallel Weeia series might find themselves told things they know, they are unlikely to feel lectured at or distracted from the action. Although, this infusion doesn’t provide background on all the relevant events, it is also detailed enough that readers unfamiliar with Boca’s other work will not be lost.

Danni continues to be a sympathetic protagonist, struggling to do the right thing with the resources available. While her negative reaction to a new, privileged, trainee is not commendable, it is entirely plausible. Where some readers might find her less realistic (or less sympathetic) is in her occasional lack of emotional response to harming humans: despite not technically being human, her general compassion for humans makes her utter lack of self-doubt over the death of some humans seem odd.

Sebastien, the trainee Marshal, is well-crafted. Boca skillfully avoids the extremes of embodying and rejecting privilege, creating a character who is clearly shaped, but not defined, by his upbringing. This casual access to upper-class Weeia society (and Parisian society as a whole) provides both an additional tool for investigation and a source of tension between the Marshals as he is embraced where she is disdained.

Francois, the senior Parisian Marshal and Danni’s boss, continues to be mostly present in the form of a looming absence. While this does keep the focus firmly on Danni, he might also feel somewhat two-dimensional to readers who—after the events of the first book—expect to uncover more about how and why he seems to ignore his responsibilities yet not be replaced.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I recommend it to readers seeking an urban fantasy thriller where the supernatural isn’t a poorly concealed secret.

The remaining supporting cast, returning and new, display a nuance appropriate to their involvement in the plot, maintaining a balance between seeming stereotypical and being a distraction.

Dave Higgins, speculative fiction author
(see it and other reviews on his website at davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/weeia-on-my-mind-by-elle-boca/)