Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Too Many Cases
AUTHOR: Julia Rancourt
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 55 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 12, 2016
Jo is a man of multiple worlds. He was born in the mundane world, but while working as a private detective, he inadvertently chased his quarry into Otheropolis, a parallel world filled with magic. Deciding to stay, Jo is joined by Simone Of Hecate, his partner in more ways than one, and resumes his private detective work in his strange new home.
But when his private life in the mundane world comes under assault, on top of three new cases, and multiple attempts on his life, Jo starts to wonder if maybe mundane was better than magical after all.
Jo lives his life caught between a series of two existences: the magical and the mundane, his past with his family and his future with Simone, his life as a man while living with body still seen as female. And despite how easy it might look to choose one over the other, Jo can’t, most of the time. Which is why he finds himself back in the mundane world, attending his mother’s wedding, as a bridesmaid. But even without the loathsome dress making things miserable, there are mysteries afoot, and magic meddlings taken place, so Jo and Simone will have to put their detectives’ hats on and try to figure out who has it out for Jo’s family before the big day takes place.
As much as I found portions of this story amusing (like when Jo is being hit on at the wedding and he shoots him down. Hard.) I had a hard time getting into it. The universe here is just not built up enough in the beginning for me to understand what the hell is going on, and even as the story progresses, and we learn more, I can’t help but feel like I was left in the dark too many times. I even went back to check that this wasn’t the second book in the series, because it read a lot like the author was operating under the assumption that we knew a lot more than we actually did. But as far as I can tell there have been no previous stories.
There was also, and I think the title says it all, too many cases. This is only a little over 50 pages long, and not nearly long enough to do all of these cases justice. I was left feeling vaguely unsatisfied by almost all of them, because none of them got the page time to really be flushed out. I love mystery stories–especially ones that deal in magic–but the reason I love them is because I like trying to solve the mystery myself. Here everything was a jumbled mess of clues, with plot points coming out of nowhere, and it didn’t really make for a good mystery, let alone several of them.
I like the trans bits and the relationship stuff in this story, but the plot really lets the whole thing down.