Fantasy Book Review: The Misfortune Cookie

The Misfortune Cookie by Laura Resnick

Esther Diamond’s year gets off to a rocky start when NYPD’s Detective Connor Lopez, who slept with her and then didn’t call, shuts down her current place of employment and gets her arrested. Once she’s out of handcuffs, and with no paying work on the frigid horizon, Esther takes a small role in a grad student’s film project in Chinatown—where her friend semi-retired hit man Lucky Battistuzzi, who escaped Lopez’s sweep at the Little Italy restaurant where Esther works between acting jobs, is hiding out in a Chinese-Italian mortuary.

Esther and Lucky soon realize that something strange is going on in Chinatown, where beautifully handcrafted fortune cookies are inflicting deadly mystical curses on the hapless victims who receive them as gifts—and before long, Esther learns that Detective Lopez is one of the recipients. As preparations for Chinese New Year heat up in the ice-covered neighborhood, when the streets will be filled with costumed lion dancers, firecrackers, and dense crowds, Esther and Lucky summon the help of their friend Max, a semi-immortal mage and semi-solvent bookseller, to help them save Chinatown and Lopez (with whom Esther is not on speaking terms) from a mystical murderer of maniacal menace.

Just when you think Esther and Lopez could have a happy ending, Esther finds herself hurt and betrayed. Just in time for New Year’s. And, as always, money is tight and she’s hungry. This time Chinese food is on the menu. And just as a warning, you will begin to crave Chinese food too. As Esther talked about the food, I began to crave it. And I’m not a huge fan to begin with. This alone proves Resnick’s writing skills.

As I’ve probably said before, the Esther Diamond novels are easily one of my top favorite urban fantasy series. Full of witty banter, mystery, clever characters, and a bit of magic and romance – I can’t get enough of these stories. And this latest adventure is no exception. The book starts out with a hilarious series of events that lands poor Esther behind bars. But she’s strong and independent and always lands on her feet. I’m crazy about these characters and get so wrapped up in the story that it’s over all too quickly. I also appreciate when it’s evident that the author has done a lot of research for an informative and accurate read. The Misfortune Cookie is the 6th book in the series, but each are fantastic standalone novels. My only complaint about the series is having to wait a year for the next new installment.

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