SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1658 Polterheist, by Laura Resnick Book Review | SFReader.com

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Polterheist, by Laura Resnick
Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2012
Review Posted: 4/28/2014
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Polterheist, by Laura Resnick

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

Polterheist is the fifth book in Laura Resnick's Esther Diamond light and humorous urban fantasy series.  Lots of fun and an easy read, not the usual dark and heavy urban fantasy that seems to be the norm.
 
The basic premise is that Esther Diamond is forced to work at the department store Fenster's during the holiday season as a Jewish elf, since her usual "between jobs" work as a waitress is unavailable.  So she endures the insanity of the holiday crowds with gritted teeth.  But then inanimate objects start coming to life and trying to kill her, while her fellow employees keep disappearing.  Not to mention that someone keeps hijacking Fenster delivery trucks, bringing her erstwhile boyfriend Connor into the picture.  And all of it seems to be escalating as the holiday season reaches its peak.  Is it all caused by a poltergeist, perhaps the recently deceased matriarch of Fenster's come back to haunt them, or is it something more defarious?  Esther will need the help of Max, resident wizard, and the mobster hitman Lucky to figure it all out . . . hopefully before her boyfriend arrests her or the city of New York is destroyed in the process.
 
As usual, the humor never stops with Laura Resnick playing up the insanity of working in retail during the holiday season to its maximum effect.  I've worked retail myself, and quite a bit of this would have been even funnier if I hadn't.  So there's a sharp edge to the humor here for most.  But it's still rollicking fun.  Esther is in true, typical form, causing mayhem and destruction, all with the best of intentions.
 
The plot for this book wasn't as strong as the previous book, Vamparazzi, especially the play on the title.  The allusion to the strange activity actually coming from a poltergeist is more of a passing theory, quickly brought forth and discarded, and I don't think any reader will be convinced that's what's going on from the beginning.  But that's fine, because it makes a great title, and what's really going on is so much more deadly and interesting in the long run.  As usual, there's a great cast of characters, with Esther dealing with the other employees trapped in elf and Santa outfits and the owners of the department store and management.  Max and Lucky don't appear much in this story, which is fine.
 
Connor is back, of course, and actually the interaction between him and Esther is the best part of the entire book.  Their plot arch takes a significant leap forward in a very good way, in my opinion, after having stalled out in the last book.  I really enjoyed how this developed here and it was by far my favorite section in the book.  It was handled well and believably and not in any heavy-handed, overly romantic way.  In fact, it was just right.
 
So, not the strongest plot in the series so far, but certainly a ton of fun and with some great development between Esther and Connor.  Certainly looking forward to the next book in this series.

Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate
www.joshuapalmatier.com
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