Review of Con Job – Laura Vanarendonk Baugh

Posted: February 9, 2020 in mystery, Review, science fiction

Jacob just wanted to have a good time with his friend Samantha and fellow geeks at the fan convention. But when dead bodies start turning up, Jacob has to start a little early on his hoped-for detective career. After all, the police are out of their depth in a world where nearly everyone wears a costume or uses an alias. But Jacob has a secret of his own, and it looks like someone is bent on revealing him to the entire con. If Jacob’s history comes out, his police career will end before it begins, even if he can find the killer. And if he can’t, more fans will die.

Con Job

Laura Vanarendonk Baugh

AEclipse Press

Purchased at Geysercon

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

I’ve played the Con Game. By which I mean that convention simulation game where pretty much anything that can go wrong, does go wrong. But none of the scenarios I’ve come across ever included a series of dead bodies… Which is what is going down at Con Job. Yes, the name of the book is indeed a pun on multiple levels. Honestly, I’m not sure what I’d do, beyond the obvious – like call the police.

The murder mystery is interesting enough, though not terribly complex. An experienced reader of murder mysteries will figure out who done it reasonably easily. But it’s the characters, in several senses of the word, that make this book entertaining. It’s about the people who make the story, many of whom are ‘characters’ in the own right, and the characters that they cosplay as.

It’s a very American book, full of US geek culture references, and I’m quite sure I missed a number of them, partly because of the different background, and partly because I’m not that immersed in anime. And there’s plainly a lot involved in US SF conventions that I’ve never had to deal with. Consequently, I suspect this book may have a somewhat limited audience – but if you happen to be part of that audience, I think you’d enjoy it a lot.

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