The ruin of many a poor girl

This is third installment in the adventures of the worst bounty hunter in the galaxy (considering that the priority of being a bounty hunter should be getting paid) and her partner / sidekick who is NOT a dog.

This time Esper and Kubu are trying to stay out of trouble.  Esper has taken as job as a bodyguard at a "house of ill repute" as it were, while Kubu helps out with the "workers" children upstairs in the daycare.  It is an OK situation, good for keeping quiet out of site, with only the occasional rowdy customer to deal with.

And then hi-jinks ensue!

Or so it would be described in your average comedy, but this is a bit darker than the previous entries in the series.  When one of the girls is "rented" for the night, and then doesn't come back, Esper makes it her mission to rescue her, even though it means leaving her faithful companion behind.

Esper spends a lot more time this go round dealing with her own inner demons, who have started making their voices much more prominent, pushing her to limits that she doesn't want to go.  She is conflicted with doing what is right versus doing what is easy, and do the ends justify the means?

It seemed a bit strange to me that the heroine would be so conflicted about legal prostitution.  Not the kidnapping and illegal sex trafficking that she must rescue her friend from, but the safe, legal place where the book starts.  This is a character who, while she once was part of the clergy of the one church, has since found herself with a band of outlaws, become a wizard, fought, stolen and even killed in the past - yet she seems upset by legal consensual sex for money.

So far this has been the weakest book of the series; however it sets up what appears to be a very powerful confrontation in the next volume.  Actions have consequences, and I could visualize the words "to be continued . . ." appearing on the screen as I finished the book (yes, it is weird to visualize words while reading, I know).  While a decent story, it feels more like a prelude than a stand alone adventure.

I have really enjoyed Kubu as a character, and watching him grow in both the original Black Ocean series and now this one, and while he has a chance to resolve a little of his story, for the most part he is sidelined and left behind, never having the opportunity to actually do anything.  A bit of a disappointment after the climax of the previous book (but I want to see more of Kubu anyway).

Morin continues to be able to craft a cinematic story with fantastic visuals that so often plays out less like a book and more like a tv show.   There are several scenes that beg to be filmed, including what is going on in the front cover.

Overall not my favorite, but the setup for the next leaves me wanting more.  I am more than curious to see how things pan out in the next book, and if there are going to be more after it in the future.

Because it is all fun and games . . .