REVIEW: Comeuppance Served Cold by Marion Deeds
Seattle, 1929—a bitterly divided city overflowing with wealth, violence, and magic.
A respected magus and city leader intent on criminalizing Seattle’s most vulnerable magickers hires a young woman as a lady’s companion to curb his rebellious daughter’s outrageous behavior.
The widowed owner of a speakeasy encounters an opportunity to make her husband’s murderer pay while she tries to keep her shapeshifter brother safe.
A notorious thief slips into the city to complete a delicate and dangerous job that will leave chaos in its wake.
One thing is for certain—comeuppance, eventually, waits for everyone.
CW – from the book “This book contains instances of patriarchal, racist, and ableist violence, both verbal and physical.”
Dear Ms. Deeds,
From reading other reviews, I knew two things: this novella would be told using a non-linear timeline and that it was composed so that readers would see all the plot elements being carefully revealed as the heist slowly came together. It’s a long con that must be set up just so counting on everything going to plan in order for it to be pulled off. So of course a few things won’t go to plan. But will it work in the end? That’s what I wanted to know.
In this paranormal alternate Seattle, magic is known, shapeshifters exist, another thing to become addicted to is shimmer-shim, and like in Chicago and NYC gangs are constantly trying to muscle in on more territory.
“Dolly White” arrives in Seattle with a plan. She’s a grifter who needs to establish herself in a certain household to get what a client has hired her to obtain. It won’t be easy as the patriarch and his son both have magical abilities and the safe in which the item is stored is known to be guarded with powerful magic. Previous thieves have tried to open it and the results were ugly. Dolly slowly does her research and eventually enlists some local help for a little assistance. But naturally a few monkey wrenches get thrown in the works and the efforts of some people out for more power who decide to turn public opinion against shapeshifters to help get it, complicate things.
I enjoyed watching Dolly slowly set up and execute her plan. Like most con artists, she can judge her marks well but also roll with unexpected events. Careful attention to detail and keeping a cool head are everything. Little hints, which I would have loved to know more about, regarding “Dolly’s” past life and things she’s done are sprinkled through the story .
Three other interesting characters round out the ones I rooted for. A widow wants justice for her murdered husband and her shapeshifter brother wants to help keep his male lover safe. The sister’s and brother’s backstory highlights that life for people of color was no easier in this world than in ours while the male lover has paid a high price for the magic that he can do.
The worldbuilding is very intricate and at times I wondered if there maybe one paranormal element too many. In the end, one of these things was worked a bit more into what makes the Evil Characters Evil but I think this could have been dropped or changed without unraveling this World. Though it’s a short book, it doesn’t read that way. There is just enough description to set scenes without cramming too much in. A few minor characters and parts of the plot could have been fleshed out more but that would have slowed down the pace. If there is a sequel, perhaps more of these will be elaborated on. If there is a sequel, I will definitely want to read it. B – rounded up just slightly for the sheer novelty of the story.