Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso
In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.
Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. These origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely, and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent.
So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?
I discovered this gem of a book thanks to Louise Walter Books (who kindly provided me with a proof copy of the book and that gorgeous postcard) and Asha (who thought I’d love it because Yania, the main character has EDS, she was right, of course).
Now, if you don’t want to read the whole review, I can shorten it for you. It reminds me beautifully of the place I wish Dresden files had gone. It also evokes Patricia Briggs and Charles de Lint (making me want to read them again) and a bit of Anne Bishop.
If you are wondering who all the previous authors are, then you’ve missed out on a wonderful genre called Urban Fantasy (UF). Seriously, give it a go.
Now back to this book, and expanding on the “short version”. It is the story of a paranormal detective, and if you just go by that then it sounds a like a variety of UF books out there. However, I have to say that the writing itself is very good, the words flow and don’t get in the way of the story. There are descriptions but they aren’t shoved down your throat (thankfully) but rather you discover as you go.
The Old/New London concept was refreshing (she isn’t the first one to write communities of humans and others/magical beings coexisting) but for me, who lived in London for a bit and go there for work about once a month, it made it more “real”.
The lack of romance in the book also got bonus points for me(not that there isn’t any but rather it isn’t added as an afterthought or to attract you into it and be predictable)! And this makes the partnership between Yania and Karrion so much better.
Obviously I really appreciated the way Yania describes the pain of EDS, as someone with Hypermobility this was precious. I actually stopped after a paragraph and turned to my boyfriend and said “you should read this, it puts into words just how difficult living with this is” (he said he would if it was that important). So kudos for representation.
I could go on, which doesn’t happen a lot in my reviews because I dearly try not to spoil the story, and somehow, in this case I can skirt around the story and still praise this book a lot. I can’t wait for Echo Murder to come out (even though I haven’t even received my preorder of Fallible Justice yet, woops).
One last thing, I have a soft spot for Wishearth.
Go buy Fallible Justice and read it of course. And maybe try the other authors I mentioned? Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Patricia Briggs (my favourite is The Hob’s Bargain even if her closest work to Fallible Justice is Moon Called), Charles De Lint (The Riddle of the Wren) or Anne Bishop (Written in Red)