SOURCE: Purchased both White Cat and Red Glove from booksellerI fell in love with Ms. Black's writing when I picked up a book called Ironside. Since then, I've grabbed every Holly Black book without even engaging in my customary pre-read test of the first chapter.
In White Cat, the first book of the Curse Workers series, I was dismayed to learn the protagonist was a member of a family of criminals. Cassel is a con man extraordinaire. I can forgive a lot of bad boy behavior, but having spent ten years dealing with ripoff victims, I wasn't quite ready for Cassel. I was on the verge of returning the book when Cassel's story reached me and I continued on and I'm glad I did. By the end, I could even understand and empathize with Cassel, which is a testament to Ms. Black's ability to build characters.
I bought Red Glove without hesitation and I don't regret the decision. This second Curse Worker book has Cassel forced to work with the government to find his brother Phillip's killer. All they know is it's a woman wearing a red glove.
The gloves are off quite literally now as the non-gifted are railing against curse workers. The book's taken a political tone as politicians are attempting to enact laws to restrict curse workers.
Ms. Black's ably shifted from fae fantasy to crime noir with mainstream type political issues. I'm surprised at the shift, but not in the least bit surprised by her competency. Ms. Black does her research and lists her sources in her acknowledgements. One service she does to her readers is explain how confidence workers set up a con. For instance, a gift creates an obligation and many people will do their best to return far more than that original gift's value in repayment. This is a very good lesson to learn since many charities and other groups use this technique for donations.
As with every book in a series, I'm going to comment on whether you're going to be able to read the book without previous editions. In this case, the answer's yes. Red Glove provides most of the clues to the previous books that will guide you through the world. I'd definitely read White Cat if this type of book intrigues you. From a reviewer's standpoint, this second book is much improved over the first and I am looking forward to the third book, which will be available in April 2012.
Rebecca McFarland Kyle, February 2012