Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.**
And so here we are again. I actually finished this book weeks ago but with all the crazy busyness of finals and papers I haven't had the chance to actually sit down and think about it.
Red Glove starts off with Cassel and his mother living large in Atlantic City. Cassel is being bogged down by his brother who is insistent on keeping the brotherhood Cassel so carefully spun alive and by Lila's father who is desperate to recruit Cassel and his transformation powers on board. This is happening while Cassel has returned to school only to meet curse-ridden, love-obsessed Lila who is attending the prep place as well and as the feds breathe down his neck into betraying his family. Then he finds out his brother's been murdered. I bet your head is spinning as fast as mine.
In all honesty though, I never quite understood Cassel's dilemma over Lila. I mean sure, his mom basically rearranged her personality so he would love her but on the other hand, Lila knew that she was under the influence of the curse and she knew that he loved her so what was all the Twilight-level angsting for? If he had just what, avoided her or even just went along for the sake of it until she snapped out of it, what would have been the big deal? Do guys really think things like this through to that point? I dunno, it just irked me every time Cassel whined over how Lila was under a curse and then when she's free of it and pissed at him, he's confused. Um, what? Considering her previously awesome behavior, of course she'd be pissed. OK, maybe it's just a misunderstanding but that could be easily fixed. And speaking about Lila's original personality, sigh; I really do miss it, even in cat form.
Moving on, the whole FBI thing was a little bit too drawn out as well for me. But then it did herald some new threads on the dead Phillip which I do hope cross over to the next novel, or otherwise be just a useless add to an otherwise better plot. The whole mystery on who-killed-Phillip-Sharpe was good. Predictable but good. As I had guessed correctly who it was at the beginning, it threw me for a loop when Cassel's mother was hinted at as the murderer. But only until the next clue came along and I settled back into my seat, confident THIS time at how it was.
There were other pleasant surprises as well but unfortunately the one that I had been the most excited about, that Daneca was actually a curse worker, wasn't well handed in my book. I found her a little bit insensitive towards Sam's reaction to the revelation. Her personality suddenly took a more complaining turn which was quite different from the girl who used to make sharp Cassel jumpy (I just had to do it SOME time!). The other ones were great on the other hand.
The world building, as always, was incredible. I remember reading a review that mentioned how people were supposed to use touch screens/pads on mentioned laptops and smartphones when everyone was supposed to wear gloves and I think that in this parallel universe, they were probably made with that in mind. One thing that fascinated me was the naked hand. I really, really loved the idea of how intimate touching someone with bare hands was due to the fear of curse working. It's the ultimate sign of trust in their world and a prospective I find much more scintillating than sex. Speaking of which, perhaps this was already explained but do people take off their gloves when they have sex? It seems like wearing gloves while love making would be extremely awkward.
Red Glove did not live up to my expectations set up by White Cat. Compared to the twist machinations, the mystery and the twists of its predecessor, the con here was so predictable that I literally thought they were going to pull another fast one towards the end. When the killer was revealed, I was so disappointed. The best thing about this series is the thought behind all the crime, even the smaller ones, so seeing everything laid out so simply, which I hope was not done in favor of the love, is disparaging.
All in all=☆☆
*ARC provided by the publishers at Sim & Schuster's GrabGalley.
**Summary taken from Goodreads