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
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/)
Pop the Butterfly, a book review blog by Paige in the Atlanta area, recently profiled An American Weeia in Paris. Thanks to Paige and Pop the Butterfly!
An American Weeia in Paris on Pop the Butterfly
Paige is a book reviewer, a beta reader, an influencer, who runs Indie Blog Hop. See the profile on the Pop the Butterfly website at https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com/2020/05/21/an-american-weeia-in-paris-by-elle-boca-promo-tour/
Smart, astute, unyielding at times and a force to be reckoned with
Experiencing a terrorist attack is common for newly appointed acting Marshal Danni. Her appearance is unorthodox for someone in her position but this assignment to protect two Superhumans and the outcome of what happens at the Eiffel Tower sets off a strange set of events. The Walkers are not ordinary “people” the husband is high up in the Weeia hierarchy but his wife will shock Danni as the attack occurs, she and the Walkers are in an upscale restaurant about to order dessert when things get tense and as he tries to take control but his wife won’t budge because her kids went out and have not returned.
There’s a super crime fighting hero going up against the terrorists and crime in Paris. But , Weeias are not supposed to flaunt their existence to humans. This is against their laws and Danni now the acting head of the Paris Marshal’s office is up against a real foe right in her own backyard. Rupert has political connections and brings in a task force aiming to solve the case and push her out. Her own boss took away the case and gave it to this team. Danni needs help but first a friend calls who thinks that she and her partner are being followed but why? Doing some surveillance Danni spots someone using her tracker on her badge and sends his pictures to her old friend Ernie learning his identity but not why he’s following them.
Her old partner left and finally contacted her and she’s hoping he’ll help with this case so she gets the position permanently but there are obstacles in her way. Amanda Walker discounts her warnings about danger and her husband Ted follows Danni but the result of what happens shocks Danni learning just what Amanda is and can do. Lives are lost but somehow, she and Amanda work as one to try and save a guard but will this be the end of her job or will her boss understand the outcome? Ted Walker is considered a superhero and a superhero has gone rogue and Danni is charged with stopping this hero before Rupert takes her down and gets the position she wants. The issues of betrayal, deception, friendship and loyalty are just some of what author Elle Boca brings out as the tensions rise and the dangers increase.
The humorous highlights surround her problems dealing with this toy poodle, Ceri who belonged to her former direct report and who insisted she take him in. Ceri is smart and cunning making it hard for Danni to deal with her and the surprises she finds when she comes home. Plus let’s not forget Madame Marmotte her somewhat secretary who adds her own spin on Danni and does not always deal with her without her terse comments but when push comes to shove, and Russell asks and requests something from her the response is priceless.
Danni becomes embroiled in solving the case and keeping tabs on Mathias and the Walker children. Called on the carpet by Rupert’s father closing she was harassing the children she stands up for herself, but something happens during her surveillance for Mathias that changes every about her parents and Danni must deal with the harsh realities and startling truths. Speed walkers are hard to track and she’s on the prowl to find this one who’s creating havoc and is dangerous is it Sammy Walker or just who is this new Superhuman? As things get stranger Ernie appears and Danni is forced on an unusual journey in the middle of the night where she learns the history of the Weeia, the person called Unelmonija the most gifted and powerful Weeia known to their history and he enlightens her to much more. But first she learns about her parent’s powers and what similarity she had to one. Ernie explains a group formally known as Ihmiset called The Descendants. This woman descended directly from the Ulelmoija are known as The Daughters of the Descendants. Added in this links to why her badge has limited abilities and what she experiences takes her to an entire new dimension and is astounding. Danni faces hard choices and her goal is to track the MGV and solve her case before Rupert’s team does.
Danni and Ernie have an unusual relationship and as a result of this encounter you never know how things will progress and knowing that Marla is about to descend on her changes things as what she experienced and what she learns about her parents has to remain a secret in order to protect her own life.
The world of Weeia is much different than ours but Danni using her new app was able to learn just who MGV is but that is not to be revealed to anyone but this person is smart, quick and with this person’s help you won’t believe what they accomplished and how they took down some dangerous criminals. But, things get tense when someone close to Danni is seriously hurt, Mathias is kidnapped by Argus who is at the heart of what is happening to so many others, bribes, torture and more to get people to do what they want but can anyone ever really get away from this dangerous group that thinks they are so elite and higher than all others. Situations get tense, Danni must make a difficult decision, hoping to find Mathias and learning the truth behind Argus and once again having to say goodbye to people she loves. As things get more dangerous and Danni hopes to get the permanent position as Head of the Paris office, she needs to rethink her thoughts about someone, find her own way and hopefully reconcile her own differences within herself. An ending that leaves us wondering what is next for Danni, will she find someone in her life after losing the one person she really loved? Learning about her ability that she did not know she had, will that change the way she handles thing? Smart, astute, unyielding at times and a force to be reckoned with and of course let’s not forget Madame Marmotte who adds some color and zest to every scene that she’s in and her loyalty to Danni is unfounded. What’s next for her? Will she get the permanent position? Friendships are broken, others cemented, and trust and loyalty are at the heart of whether she will succeed. But what she does to make Sammy smile before the Walkers return home is priceless and amazing.
Author Elle Boca created a plot filled with suspense, intrigue and an ending you won’t expect as we learn more about An American Weeia in Paris, named DANNI!
Fran Lewis, Just reviews/MJ Magazine
See the article on her website: https://tillie49.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/an-american-weeia-in-paris/
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Want to buy a copy right away? Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia (The Weeia Marshals Book 1)
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Check out the cover for my newest book An American Weeia in Paris due out very soon.
Know exactly where in Paris the white structures in the background are? You are invited to leave in a comment with your best guess.
While human residents are delighted with the new superhero in the City of Light Danni, acting head of the Paris Weeia office, is tasked with apprehending the unidentified person her superiors believe is Weeia. Will she succeed before a well connected upstart beats her to the goal and steals her job?
Click here to buy An American Weeia in Paris (The Weeia Marshals Book 4)
Author David Higgins read and reviewed the first book in the Paris Marshals Series.
I recommend it to readers seeking an urban fantasy thriller that relies on character and investigation more than magical abilities
Boca mixes the shock of moving to a new culture, the frustration of being a cop with a boss who won’t support them, and an urban fantasy world that isn’t filled with the usual creatures to create a tale of magical investigation that is driven by character rather than special effects.
Near identical but gifted with magical abilities, Weeia have always lived among humans in secret. The Marshals exist both to capture criminals and ensure the secret remains. When Danni is offered a placement in Paris straight out of training, she can’t believe her luck. However, with her predecessors dead, the Marshals’ office near derelict, and her boss only interested in her not getting in the way of his life of decadence, she realises her posting might not be what it seemed.
This novel is set in the same world as Boca’s Unelmoija series. However, it neither relies upon nor reveals events in those novels. As such, it both is suitable as an introduction to the world, and can be read in parallel to the Unelmoija arc.
Unlike the focus on mystical heritage and secrets of Unelmoija series, this novel is akin to an urban fantasy detective or police procedural. While it has a large dose of the same unique metaphysics, a substantial part of the plot revolves around using—or subverting—procedures, analysing evidence, and investigating rather than wielding strange abilities and unravelling prophecies. By creating a police service that is similar to those of Western nations but different in a number of key ways, Boca skilfully balances the reader’s desire to solve along with the characters against the use of magic for investigation.
Boca weaves a detailed but not obsessively so thread of Parisian life through these mysteries, adding to the firm foundation created by mundane detection, creating a parallel series of challenges, and rounding out characters. While she admits to taking some liberties with reality, this Paris is likely to feel real to all but the most Parisian of readers.
Although there are—as might be expected of what was written as the first book in a series—some questions left unanswered, Boca resolves the majority of threads, providing Danni with victories that are not only satisfying but significant enough that the book could stand as a solo work.
Danni is a sympathetic protagonist. The daughter of Marshals who were disgraced by some unexplained event, she is torn between an unconscious desire to present herself as a good Weeia and many years of not letting bullies silence her; this opposition both drives and inhibits her efforts to undertake her posting efficiently despite the rest of the Marshals’ presence wanting her to stay quiet and leave thing alone.
The supporting cast are similarly shaped by internal contradictions, making them, Weeia and human alike, feel like real people living lives beyond the plot.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I recommend it to readers seeking an urban fantasy thriller that relies on character and investigation more than magical abilities.
Dave Higgins, speculative fiction author
(see it and other reviews on his website at https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/unelmoija-paradox-by-elle-boca/