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Frames #1

Nica of Los Angeles

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A fantasy adventure with detective and dystopian elements.

When rookie private eye Nica takes on a mysterious case, she enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, where a stray cat has great powers, where books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. At home, Nica tackles missing persons cases, while in the larger reality of the Frames she is swept into an escalating battle between good and evil.

313 pages, ebook

First published September 4, 2014

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About the author

Sue Perry

14 books52 followers
I'm always happy to give free e-copies of my books in exchange for honest reviews. Message me!

According to heart and soul, I am a writer. In fact, writing is the only work that has ever mattered to me. To confirm this, I've been a warehouse clerk, secretary, retail clerk, substitute teacher, bookkeeper, government bureaucrat. Motion picture story analyst, low budget TV producer. Scientific research internship director. Earthquake consultant. Professor. Disaster scientist.

I am a seasoned yet new writer, thanks to a 20-year hiatus. In 1992, Bantam-Doubleday-Dell published my hardcover novel, the psychological thriller Was It A Rat I Saw. Somehow 20 years elapsed and in 2012 I published the literary fiction Scar Jewelry . Since then I've published about one book each year, in a wide range of lengths and genres. Nowadays I'm also getting into digital art.

I live in southern California, where I'm the mother of grown twins and companion to multiple non-humans, currently 3 cats. I spend my time with books, visual arts, live music, beaches, mountains, spiritual pursuits.

My newer novels have playlists on Spotify. Follow scperryz to listen.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
Profile Image for Richard.
Author 1 book38 followers
August 21, 2022
Is writing, as somebody once said to me, the most conservative of the arts? As a teenager I was stopped in my tracks by an early (and very unVancelike) Jack Vance short story, and ever since I've been on the lookout for more of whatever it was that The Men Return did to my mind while reading it. It described a place utterly unlike our own Universe, a zone where even the laws of nature - the very fabric of reality itself - is strange, different...surreal. And it's no accident that I've had to use a term from painting to describe it here, because that's the thing: there are painter-explorers galore, but writer-explorers? Even in the supposedly imaginative genres like science fiction and fantasy?
    There is originality out there, though; every now and then, among all the galactic empires and books of magic spells, you do come across something different - and Nica of Los Angeles certainly is. Not so much in its plot: a missing-persons case which quickly opens out into something much bigger; nor in its characters: the feisty girl private investigator, the flawed ex-husband, the friendly cop... Or at least, not in its human characters, because the non-human ones are something else again: these include buildings which are, not only alive, but go walkabout and have a nicely offbeat sense of humour; there are sentient (and rather sinister) clouds, books like squadrons of Stuka dive-bombers and, at one point, sitting on a panel of judges, a construction crane - welcome to the world of the Frames!
    In fact, these non-humans are as much a part of the setting as actual characters - and it's this setting which is unusual: Frames are other dimensions or parallel universes; and, if you know how, you can navigate your way through them. This isn't travel through space or time, but laterally through parallel versions of the Universe; all the book's action takes place in and around Los Angeles for example, but it's a multi-Los Angeles, of which our Los Angeles is just one of an infinite number. The Frames intersect at points called 'Connectors', and passing through these is one of several methods of travelling from Frame to Frame. Half of the Frames themselves are neutral Frames whose inhabitants - including us - are unaware that they even are living in a Frame. Others though are (to us) very strange, home to the eavesdropping clouds and friendly buildings.
    I liked everything else about this book too: Nica, our feisty private eye, is likeable from the start - the down-to-earth human focal point around which all the more surreal furniture (some of that sentient!) is arranged. Then there's the story: that vaster 'something' which her missing-person's case opens out into is a classic cosmic struggle between good and evil; the genocidal minions of a Devil-like entity are attempting to release it from its banishment to, and imprisonment in, a sort of Hell-Frame and unleash it on the Universe once more; Nica and her friends have been recruited into the ranks of the good guys trying to prevent this. And I liked the prose itself too: sharp and fast, laced with humour - thoroughly readable.
    Above all, though, it's in that setting where we see a proper imagination at work: this is a glimpse of a Universe in which things don't just look different, they work differently, the laws of nature aren't quite the ones we are used to maybe, or the actual fabric of things has a different feel to it. So why is this sort of novel so unusual? The simple answer, I guess, is because it's just difficult to do - very few authors seem to have either the imagination, or even the inclination, to attempt it. Perhaps writing tends to attract the more conservative-minded artist (or perhaps most with that depth of imagination tend to become surrealist painters instead!)...who knows? Whatever the answer, Nica of Los Angeles didn't just entertain me for a few hours, it got me thinking again - as The Men Return did all those years ago - about imagination, exploration, originality.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,796 followers
November 15, 2018
Nica is a rookie private detective and even though she tried her best to not get involved, she's drawn into three weird cases. Before Nica has a chance to blink twice, the world she knows falls away and the truth is revealed. The world is made up of Frames where anything is possible and Nica is called upon to help defeat the Big Bad.

I have to admit, when I first started reading this book, I was totally confused. I didn't have any background information and immediately was drawn into the mind of Nica. It was intense and yet that intensity is like a character all its own when reading this book. Original and I loved it!

Filled with twists, turns and so much action I hyperventilated, Nica of Los Angeles is an addictive read. Sue Perry did a superb job weaving the story with such description I became a part of the action. It reminded me of The Matrix on several levels and I can't wait read the next installment.

If you love Urban Fantasy with dashes of film noir, you've got to read this book.

Favorite Character: Nica. I loved how open she is as a character. As the reader, we're thrown into her head and let me tell you, it's a trip. She's gritty, honest, quirky and kicks ass. I love her as a heroine and I can't wait to read more.

Favorite Quote:

"Looking at matters from many perspectives impedes progress. I rely on reflex and certainty to remain alive and protect the Frames."

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

This review first appeared: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/si...
Profile Image for Lynxie.
562 reviews70 followers
December 26, 2016
Ok, so the time it took me to read this is not an indication of my disinterest or lack of engagement to the story, instead I ended up doing NaNoWriMo and a massive work project in between August and Dec.

That aside, Nica's tale certainly contained a lot of interesting and original ideas. The world building was fresh and the characters rather amusing.

I think my favourite characters were Miles and Monk, purely because of the intellectual way they spoke and sense of humour. I also found I developed a bit of a soft spot for Hernandez.

Where this story fell over for me was in a couple of ways. The length: at only 302 pages, the story felt densely packed and far, far longer than 302 pages.

The pace: the characters were rushing through from one thing to the next, and one frame to the next so fast it became a little too much and things started to blur. Perhaps a few less scene changes and story plot points would help alleviate the feeling of being rushed.

Nica's character and personality might irritate some readers. I found her mildly annoying at times, but amusing at others.

Some of the length could be clipped further with a heavy-handed editor, but the overall finish of the book was good.

One thing I noticed:
3% - blood-?-soaked (not sure why there's a question mark hyphenated between these two words).

*Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Scott Peters.
Author 27 books36 followers
August 29, 2014
What a great first line: "The older I get the more feral I become." This delightfully headstrong internal pondering is the sort of thing you can expect from Nica, the witty rookie detective who heads up "Nica of Los Angeles" by Sue Perry.

When we meet Nica in her office, she's faced with the unpleasant task of trying to turn down a well drawn, strung out female client. A second client soon arrives; a couple begging for help tracking down a missing girl. Things turn weird when Nica takes a break to visit the building's rooftop garden and discovers soil soaked with what appears to be blood. The story rapidly evolves from a predictable sleuth adventure into something completely science fiction with the arrival of Nica's third prospective clientele. These are not normal humans. They may not even be human at all. As to what sort of help they want from her, you'll have to read to find out.

This sci-fi/mystery reads like a grownup version of The Phantom Tollbooth. There's no shortage of the absurd, with inanimate objects coming to life, and a wide variety of creatures having their say. I think it would hold appeal for fans of Terry Pratchett. Prepare to be transported to alternate realities, complete with Nica's insightful witticisms. While it's not my normal fare, I enjoyed this bizarre romp through Sue Perry's creatively imagined worlds.
Profile Image for Christina McMullen.
Author 27 books284 followers
September 16, 2014
I love a book that defies genres and this is one that defies splendidly. Part pulp detective, part fantasy, part chick lit, with a dash of comedy to tie it all together, Nica of Los Angeles is an adventure from the very first page. No really, you may find yourself inexplicably exhausted after reading the first chapter. So much happens in so few words that I felt much like I do when I've had more caffeine than is advisable.
Nica is a private investigator who doesn't let things like licenses and experience stand between her and a case. Throughout, she muses about what several fictitious private eyes would do in her situation, but Sam Spade never had the opportunity to converse with the Maltese Falcon. Nica, on the other hand, finds herself speaking with several objects that we here in the neutral frames think of as inanimate. And you will find yourself wishing you could do the same.
The story, with its many twists and turns, has me hooked. All of the characters are well written and have the kind of personalities that make you want to learn as much as you can about them. And the names. I can't end this review without talking about the laugh-until-you-snort way Nica translates the names of the characters from other frames that she can't quite parse into English. Well deserving of five stars. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Darlene.
1,688 reviews168 followers
December 24, 2014
Ever give points just for its uniqueness? I knew I would from almost the first page of Nica of Los Angeles. In fact, that uniqueness nearly had me closing the book and moving on. What a loss that would have been! Instead, I substituted Frames with the thought of other dimensions. I could hear one of the scientists on the Science Channel talking about how another dimension would be as close as a breath away from us. Plopping that bit of science into my understanding of the story helped me believe.

Once one can embrace the unbelievability of this story, it becomes quite exciting. The characters are well developed and likable. Even Watts Towers. It is fun to visit familiar parts of LA the one in this reality and what it might be like in other dimensions.

It has been a couple days since I finished the story. I haven't known exactly what to say about it and I have been trying to figure that out since I started reading it. By the way, I received the free version of the book from the author for an honest review. But I bought the $.99 at Amazon so I could read it from any of my readers. As I have stated above, I loved the story and the characters.
Profile Image for Rachel Brune.
Author 20 books91 followers
January 5, 2015
As a fan of both hard-boiled detective stories and speculative fiction, this book piqued my interest. Nica, the protagonist, is more Kinsey Millhone than Sam Spade, but the novel hooks you in and doesn't let go. A brand-new detective (so new she hasn't actually had time to apply for a license) Nica finds herself at the nexus of three separate cases which slowly but surely begin to entangle themselves and her. She soon discovers that this world is simply one of many parallel worlds, or Frames, and that she's been enlisted to fight an evil imperiling all.

I very much enjoyed Perry's well-developed characters and snappy plotting. Her strong central character is not without her flaws, but Nica is never unsympathetic and always interesting. The supporting cast are well-rounded - there isn't one who is slapped together. There are a few that left me wanting more, but from the low-note cliffhanger, I'm pretty sure there is another book to come. When it does, I'll be reading it! Definitely recommend this book to fans of detective and spec fiction.
Profile Image for Shari Sakurai.
Author 7 books67 followers
January 4, 2015
*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

Nica of Los Angeles (Frames #1) is a very clever and gripping novel which incorporates two very different genres (mystery and fantasy) and combines them perfectly.

Nica is a rookie private investigator who, by two mysterious clients, is drawn into the world of Frames where different dimensions exist alongside each other. Whilst trying to get to grips with her altered reality, Nica is also trying to solve a missing person’s case in her own Frame.

I greatly enjoyed reading Nica of Los Angeles. Nica’s wit and sense of humour (even in dangerous situations) came across perfectly in the writing style and had me smiling on more than one occasion. Nica’s a very strong and capable female lead, who is very likeable and does express moments of vulnerability. The new dimensions that she visits are very detailed and well thought-out, creating perfect imagery in my imagination.

I highly recommend Nica of Los Angeles (Frames #1) to anyone who enjoys fantasy, mystery or a combination of the two!
Profile Image for Carole P. Roman.
Author 80 books2,201 followers
July 1, 2014
Nica of Los Angles is a fantasy wrapped around a gritty detective story. Hard boiled, but inexperienced private investigator Veronica Sheridan Taggart Ambrose Taggart Ickovic finds herself with more clients than she can handle. A missing duffle, a missing teen, and a mystery of a blood soaked garden collide with strange visions. With the help of two very strange clients, and their inhaling device, she enters a new reality where buildings have conversations as though they are beings.

Inventive, exciting, and a non stop thrill ride, Sue Perry imagines a very disturbing reality within the bleak world Nica lives. Painted like a black and white hard boiled detective film noir, it blasts into color with it's trip into different frames of reality, leaving the reader racing to the end of Nica's journey.

Well written, just the right amount of biting sarcasm, Veronica Taggart Ambrose Taggart Ickovic may be the new version of a modern heroine. I think she has staying power.
Profile Image for Louise White.
Author 3 books341 followers
July 28, 2014
Sue Perry's Nica in LA was a pleasure to read with plenty of action, adventure and suspense. I loved Nica's well rounded and adult character (Different from the soul searching angst of my usual YA genre.) She is a woman of many skills and plenty of life experience. Strong and self assured with a quick wit and generosity of spirit, it's clear that some may take advantage of her. 
The Frames was a concept very well done, and was intrigued by the characters, especially the fantastical that were introduced throughout the plot. I particularly liked the Frames description from characters Miles and Monk - glimpse of reality -a layer of the universe. 
 Everything  knitted together in this unique story, making a weird sort of sense out of the inexplicable. 
The writing style is fresh and lively and should appeal to many fantasy and crime readers who previously haven't considered the other genre.
A super start to what is set to be an amazing series.

Profile Image for Pat Adeff.
Author 13 books10 followers
August 4, 2014
I was given a copy of Sue Perry's book, Nica of Los Angeles (1st Ch) in exchange for an honest review. At first I had trouble getting into the story, but only because I haven't read that much SciFi. THAT SAID, once I got in the groove I truly enjoyed this feast for the mind! The main character, Nica, is a private detective (by default mostly) with a wicked self-deprecating sense of humor and tons of energy. Ms. Perry makes her very believable and likeable, and I found myself rooting for Nica in all the situations she found herself in. Once I caught on to how the SciFi aspect fit in, I was hooked. There are some scenes that moved me to tears, and others that had me cringing at the evil from the bad guys. Nica of Los Angeles is a rock 'n roll ride that thoroughly delivers, and I highly recommend it!!
Profile Image for John Watt.
137 reviews11 followers
May 16, 2015
1st of all I would like to thank Sue Perry and Goodreads for the opportunity to read and review this book. Nica is a witty, likable protagonist for this story and Perry does an excellent job of conveying her confusion in the early part of the story. The supporting characters are excellent, and the world(s) constantly goes from the mundane to the fantastical. The villains are sinister and creepy and just seemed to remind of that one person you know who can always walk through crap and still come out smelling like roses. The story started off a bit slow, but I it was not totally unexpected as new characters were being introduced and the plot line was unfolding. I am expecting the remaining three books of the quartet to accelerate faster. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!!
Profile Image for Marissa.
2,965 reviews35 followers
August 10, 2016
PDF copy from Author

Nica is a new private detective who lives in her office. She finds herself taking a case where she travels into different dimensions called Frames. There she encounters mysterious activities as she is finds herself involve despite herself.

Trying to cope with her real world cases and the concept of Frame Traveling as people around her are thrown into this world. That she ends up being accused of murder of one of her clients who is still alive in the Frame world and that her bank account shows two odd deposits of #10,000 each.

The world of Frames is a fascinating place with odd people residing. It is quite what it appears to be.

An interesting read that seeks further exploration.
Profile Image for Emily.
5 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2014
I received a free pdf copy of Nica of Los Angeles from the author, Sue Perry, and was hooked from the beginning.

The main protagonist Nica's sarcastic, occasional stream-of-conscious narration felt very sincere (and was quite humorous!) Her ability to accept the unknown and frightening was courageous and inspiring. I really appreciated the strong female lead who was never defined by her looks nor limited by her gender.

I felt a bond to all the characters and a sense of loss (in a good way) when I reached the end. I want to know more! Especially about Dizzy, the cat, she seems like she is up to something. Until the next book is released, I am sure to be dreaming about what Nica is getting herself into.
Profile Image for Vered.
Author 70 books298 followers
November 3, 2014
A unique storyline and a strong 3.5 rating, the novel opens up with Nica, hoping her new job as an investigator will be more interesting than her previous jobs. She has no idea how interesting it’s about to get when an other-worldly pair of clients walk into her office. What starts out as a detective mystery / thriller takes a right turn at the Twilight Zone, providing an unpredictable plot and a crazy set of characters. At times, I was reminded of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or Alice in Wonderland, in the sense of the bizarreness of some of the scenes.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,072 reviews266 followers
March 19, 2015

Now this is Urban Fantasy the way I like to see done: immediate, perfect suspension of disbelief, widely divergent characters fully delineated, complex and riveting story lines, writing so good the pages practically turn themselves--and then when the last page is turned, the reader drifts awake from the dream: "Where's the next book? When? I want to reenter my dream!"
Profile Image for Jamie Pancake.
Author 1 book
February 28, 2018
This was a good story about things not being as they seem on the surface. Nica is a PI who starts to see things in a new way when she is approached for detective work by three different clients. She has to learn how to deal with all of the revelations that she is experiencing, as well as travel through the frames without getting herself into too much trouble. When she is forbidden to travel within the frames and from communicating with her new friends, she will need to get creative in her detective skillset. This story gives life to things that are not traditionally alive, such as a lawn chair on the roof of her building, and a cat that she did not give much thought to in the past, who is actually a skilled traveler within the frames.
Profile Image for Kelsi Martin.
30 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2015
The Fantasy/Adventure book Nica of Los Angeles written by Sue Perry is about Nica, a self claimed private detective who bites off more than she can chew when she acquires new clients who are not from our frame.

My thoughts on this book when I began to read it, was that I thought it was weird. As I read the first and second chapters I began to notice the language used, I found it to be to pop culture as if the author was trying to hard to relate to the reader or make them laugh. Though the more I delved, I realized the language I thought to be weird was what made the character Nica fun to read.

I thought the characters were creatively written, I couldn't find one character I didn't love reading about. The protagonist and antagonist were quite obvious, the manner in which each character spoke or acted made it clear which side they were on. A couple of characters such as Nica I found to be easy to relate to. The way in which the characters maintained their normalcy was well done. Also a few main characters have backgrounds many can relate to, as well as some side characters.

The book seems to me to have an original concept and story line, the way Sue Perry describes the beings from other dimensions is wonderfully done, I can imagine what each of the characters look like. The descriptions help to define the emotions along with their personalities altogether, for those characters who have a less than ordinary appearance. The imagery is written so beautifully I can picture myself as well as the surroundings of each scene very easily. The way the story translates from one scene to another I found to be some what lacking. For instance their were occasions when a scene would end and move into the next in such a way that I wouldn't realize the fact until I was half a page in, I would have to go back to find where in the chapter the scene changed. I was a tad irritated with this to say the least.

Overall I thought this book was entertaining, I will admit I had my reservations at first but as I continued reading I found myself enjoying the story and looking forward to what happens next. The characters along with the imagery is what made the book so good, In conclusion I give this story a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Tsubaki.
127 reviews
September 14, 2014
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The book started strong, maybe even a little too strong. I was expecting something a little more subtle than what I had gotten. The book jumps straight into the heart of things. The day started normal enough for Nica, but within the span of a few hours, normalcy fell away like a distant dream. It's easy to see the grand endeavour this story tries to set itself up for. Call me a harsh judge, but I think it fell a little short.

The main problem I had with the story was with Nica. I actually thought she was quite young at first given her laid back approach to her life and job. Something that she's wholly unqualified for (not that PIs are a regulated profession always), but still. Considering that on the day this story starts on, her first pair of clients creeped the hell out of her, the second pair were obviously hiding something dark, and the third literally vanished into thin air. And she just shrugged and continued on like absolutely nothing was wrong at all. Major character flaw…? That did not leave a good first impression on me. (In her defense, she does deal with matters quite well and managed to pull through in the end.)

Well, she did grow on me. And I liked pretty much everyone else. Ben and Dizzy especially. Putting aside everything I dislike about Nica herself, I did enjoy the story. If for nothing else than the entertainment value. That said, a part of what bothered me is that the story touches on abstract concepts and tries very hard to be philosophical, but it doesn't always work out.

Anyways, the idea of Frames was quite interesting. Basically a parallel universe interjected with a healthy dose of fantastical elements. In that aspect, the world building was quite unique. There's a lot room for the world to grow too. I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that we'll be seeing its inner workings in much more detail come the next book in the series.

One last thing I'll say though, there were some grammatical problems. Mostly minor, mostly just typos, mistypes, punctuation, and the occasional odd sentence structure, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me at all. I will admit though that it only bothered me as much as it does because of how well written the rest of story really is.
Profile Image for Joy.
59 reviews2 followers
November 4, 2015
I was gifted with the ebook of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is a promising first book in what I sincerely hope will be a trilogy, if not a series.

It has an intriguing premise, that there are dimensions similar to ours, ( called "Frames" in the book) that people can travel from. We, Earth humans in this Frame, are denied knowledge of it as a neutral party because of some war many millennia ago that is never fully explained or discussed. But many people from the other frames are fully knowledgeable of the existence of other dimensions, and are taught from their version of Kindergarten onwards how to travel between them. Fascinating. Also, sentient cars. How cool is that?

Nica is a interesting protagonist. She seems to be a bumbling girl detective of the Stephanie Plum variety at first, but proves to be a capable person. Just bad assed enough to get things done, but not so much so that she swings into the other side of the caricature, where she's a Bond Villain. So basically, Nica is a real seeming woman, who reacts in the ways I think most of us would if confronted with gorgeous, near alien seeming, inter dimensional warriors, disappearing friends, talking buildings and sentient cars. Not to mention scary bad guys, guns, and hot building maintenance men :D

I feel that Nica is not someone randomly chosen. I think the next book(s) will prove that there is a genetic component to her that makes her different. Why else would her Uncle have bought a 99 year lease on a semi crappy old Art Deco building that also happens to be a pretty special place in other Frames? Because fate and family have conspired to place Nica right where she needed to be, and I feel that will play a role. I bet Nica isn't a regular human, although she seems like it. Can people from other Frames mate with us in this Frame? Interesting question.

Overall, this is a good book with an interesting storyline and engaging characters. I would recommend it.
Profile Image for Bobbie  Bomber.
468 reviews90 followers
August 22, 2014
True rating 4.5.

I was given a copy of Nica of Los Angeles by the author in exchange for a honest review.

Sue Parry really nailed a great balance between a gritty detective drama and a gripping urban fantasy that takes you on a interesting journey through different world, or rather frames, where you meet some truly wonderful characters that you just can't help but fall in love with. The plot is as fun as it is suspenseful so you just won't want to put the book down till you finish it.

My favorite thing about the Nica of Los Angeles was Nica herself she is a real breath of fresh air. She is sarcastic, funny, brave woman who has made mistakes and owns up to them. Nica is just all around the type of person I would love to be friends with in real life. The other thing is the relationships shes forms throughout the story with all the other characters was so great, and I really can't wait to read more of this series.

The romance is extremely light and almost nonexistent which was such a breath of fresh air and is what I've been looking for,for a while now. I'm just so sick of romance heavy plots that are made of nothing but cheap love triangles or crazy jealous love interests, what little romance there is it is handled very maturely and really just made the book that much more enjoyable

I can honestly say I did not expect to love this book as much as I did well I love urban fantasy I've never been that big of a detective book fan, but love it I did. Nica of Los Angeles is a fun and interest read that takes you not only across Los Angeles but across new worlds or rather Frames. I think the fact that I am a born and raised Angelenos really did just make this book all the more interesting and fun especially since I've been to all of the places mentioned throughout the book,well except for the Watts Towers but you better believe I plan on making a trip that way in the very near future.
Profile Image for Susan Lulgjuraj.
127 reviews4 followers
March 3, 2015
Maybe Gumby is real? At least in Nica’s universe, there are Gumby people – and so much more.

In Sue Perry’s re-imagined universe, there are different frames that beings live in. We currently live in one, but there are thousands (maybe even millions) of others that are similar with subtle changes or altogether different. One of them is even filled with Gumby people who can stretch and contort into about any shape.

Nica is trying to get her life started over by becoming a private investigator. She immediately gets new clients and all of them seem shady and mixed up in things she doesn’t want to know about or understand. But money talks, even though she trusts her guts and ends up working for the other side in two of the cases.

Also, two of her clients seem otherworldly and trustful, and she immediately wants to help them. Nica is pulled into their world of animate buildings and sinister people trying to disrupt the natural flow of the frames. Perry has a unique voice told in the first person of Nica. Her voice is distinct and allows readers to slip into Nica’s world as she discovers these new frames.
However, I did find parts of the book melodramatic. As soon as one minor subplot was wrapped up, another jumped up to bite a character. It’s almost as the book read like a serialization and bundled for an e-book. While this may work if the chapters were spread out over weeks, it was a bit too much for one reading.

I would like to learn more about the other characters. We learned a lot about Nica, who is layered and complex, but we didn’t know much about those around her. Perhaps that was by design, but I would have enjoyed a bit more background as to what makes these others tick.

The world is one of creativity and fun. The frames also allow Perry to create just about any world she wants when the only thing holding her back is her own imagination.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Profile Image for Jaffa Kintigh.
280 reviews12 followers
August 10, 2015
Nica, a down-on-her-luck PI with an even worse history of romance, narrates this first-of-a-series novel as she finds 3 cases and a twice ex-husband land in her lap in quick succession. From the beginning, her droll sense of humor strikes at the tone of detective noir.

"Are you, like, even listening to what I'm telling you?" the prospective client whined and flicked her hair, which lay like a doormat down her back. I pondered the chicken and egg of her. Which comes first, being a tweaker or being a moron? Whatever the answer it was a tight race.

This client brings the first case, one of a missing bag, though it opens to a larger scenario as they do. The second case is that of a missing person, though the who's and why's need ferreting.

But it is the third case that sends Nica into parallel universes, aka frames, that reside no where outside of Miyazaki animes--buildings and cars and lawn chairs all have sentient levels. This case builds the foundation for the entire series with heavy set-up for later books.

Unfortunately, none of the cases get solved to any satisfaction, which would normally be considered a mainstay of detective novels. The first case barely scratches the surface of what is really going on with the bag and those involved. The second case never looks for the perp nor clears the case to completion. And the third is the ongoing series.

Meanwhile, Nica's droll humor shifts toward juvenile repartee and colloquialisms that lose hold of the noir tone. Her shifts to 2nd person narration, late in the story, also pushed this reader out of the story repeatedly as she told you [moi?] what I should be perceiving and thinking.

I received my copy of the book when the author contacted me directly through The Book Review Directory, a blog.
Profile Image for Andrea Stoeckel.
2,583 reviews104 followers
September 7, 2014
(FTC: I received this book from the author. And I thank her in advance for trust and generosity. However, I was not compensated otherwise and my opinions are my own. Now you know, and knowing's half the battle ;) )

I have to say I feel that this is one of the BEST books I have read this year, and that's saying a lot because dystopian is not a favorite genre. Dystopian crime mystery? Really? The first thing I said when I finished this ( and it wasn't necessarily an easy one day read) was:" I can hardly wait to read the next one!".

Veronica (Nica) Static of Los Angeles:A budding detective who inherits her office with a 99 year lease from her uncle, but hasn't gotten her license yet, and who lives in her office (shhhh! Don't tell), is hired by other "Frame" dwellers to investigate otherworldly goings on in her L.A. Anya and Anwyl introduce the idea of 'other frames' or other ways of looking at the same things, other aspects of the same reality. (The influx of cash doesn't hurt her bottom line either) With their help she sets about learning what is sensient, what is true, and that right may not be best.

Soon after I started this, I found I had to start looking up landmarks to see if they actually existed ( hey, I'm from Rhode Island). I adored the connections with architecture and art and how much Nica loves her city: from Watts Towers to Shastina, how divergence is as beautiful as sameness, and how Nica never loses her sense of humor or her wonder.

And finally, this storyline is reminiscent (IMHO) of Garisson Keilor's: Guy Noir, Private Eye.... as silly as some ideas may seem, stay open to the possibilites....
Profile Image for LS Schulz.
162 reviews
February 21, 2015
I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Sue!

Although I don't usually read books similar to Nica of Los Angeles, when I saw the synopsis, I was intrigued and decided to enter the giveaway for a copy. I didn't win, but was approached by the author and offered a copy, which I am glad I accepted, because I did enjoy reading it.

There are many reviews already available that give some sort of synopsis of the story itself, so I am going to try not to repeat too much of that. I will start by saying that, when I first read about the Frames themselves, and how Nica was allowed to travel between Frames (some of them other realities of the Los Angeles Nica is from), I was reminded of the t.v. show "Sliders" - but only briefly.

Nica is, herself, an unusual character. I found it interesting that her last name was a sort of acronym (but I won't spoil why for those who haven't read the story). She is earthy, and a bit flighty, with her own sense of humor.

I enjoyed the use of sentient buildings, vehicles and other objects as some of the very unique characters in this book. The army of flying books also took the idiom "the pen is mightier than the sword" in another direction. And cats "have only their own side", along with the ability to shift Frames themselves.

In all, this was a fun story once I worked my way into it and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure with a bit of mystery and bad guys you just can't help but mistrust.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,796 followers
August 12, 2015
I have to admit, when I first started reading this book, I was totally confused. I didn’t have any background information and immediately was drawn into the mind of Nica. It was intense and yet that intensity is like a character all its own when reading this book. Original and I loved it!

Nica is a rookie private detective and even though she tried her best to not get involved, she’s drawn into three weird cases. Before Nica has a chance to blink twice, the world she knows falls away and the truth is revealed. The world is made up of Frames where anything is possible and Nica is called upon to help defeat the Big Bad.

Filled with twists, turns and so much action I hyperventilated, Nica of Los Angeles is an addictive read. Sue Perry did a superb job weaving the story with such description I became a part of the action. It reminded me of The Matrix on several levels and I can’t wait read the next installment.

If you love Urban Fantasy with dashes of film noir, you’ve got to read this book.

Favorite Character: Nica. I loved how open she is as a character. As the reader, we’re thrown into her head and let me tell you, it’s a trip. She’s gritty, honest, quirky and kicks ass. I love her as a heroine and I can’t wait to read more.

Favorite Quote:

Looking at matters from many perspectives impedes progress. I rely on reflex and certainty to remain alive and protect the Frames.

My Rating: 4 stars
Profile Image for Jennifer.
471 reviews9 followers
July 7, 2015
A unique and engaging story! In “Nica of Los Angeles”, Sue Perry has created a reality filled with Frames. The Frames are linked together by Connectors and there are Travelers who move between the Frames. Some Frames are free and some are neutral, and the whole thing is overseen by the Framekeeps.

Nica has spent her life drifting from one husband to another and from job to job. She finds herself having inherited the lease on an office and decides to be a private detective. Her first day she gets 3 clients, 1 of them will change her life. Anya and Anwyl travel through the Frames and find themselves in need of help from a Neutral in order to defeat the Warty Sebaceous Cysts who have plotted genocide against the people of the Halcyon Frame. They recruit Nica and the whirlwind adventure begins.

I enjoyed the concept of the Frames which is new to me. The author’s imagination with this concept seem to have no limits. There are buildings that are sentient and can talk and move around in some Frames. There are Gumby like humanoids and earthworms that are Healers. Ms. Perry gets kudos for creativity here. Her main characters are well developed. The story did seem to get bogged down with descriptions at times and this was a little frustrating. Overall, I enjoyed the story because the plot line was complex and interesting.
Profile Image for Naomi Bray.
33 reviews
July 16, 2014
This book grips you from the first couple of paragraphs, you have to read on more and find out what case will come next will Nica find who/what she is looking for. I could not wait to find out how everything that happened with the inhalers was possible. I enjoyed Nica giving Monk and Miles their nicknames as it is something I would have had to do if I was in her situation. I wanted to find out if she would find out why Jay had disappeared, whether they would find him safe or not. Where Edith was and if she was safe and also why she had disappeared. I wanted to find out why the travels between and what it all meant.

Nica seems like the type of person I could get along with, she is like me in the way that she needs to sometimes just get out of a place and have a breather, although I don’t think I would have been as calm as she is in the story but I suppose you just learn to go with whatever life throws at you in her situation. She really does seem in this story as if fate meant for her to travel the Frames

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, it confuses you and makes you think but in a way that just makes you want to read on and find out more. Four out of Five stars.
9 reviews
March 3, 2015
First off I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is not an easy book to review nor was it always an easy book to read. That sounds like a bad thing so let me first say that the book was excellent and I thoroughly recommend it. Having said that I did struggle with the first half of the book. Perry has created a very complex and complicated world however she explains it very simply and just asks us to take her word that this is how things are. The main character, Nica, does exactly that, accepting this bizarre paradigm shift in the way the world is without batting an eyelash. Actually I must be much more closed minded than Nica because it took me far longer than her to wrap my head around the events of the book. Once I did buy in to the world though wow what a world it was. Anything can happen and anything does happen. This book also had a lot of humor and Perry is very very clever with her writing which was a blast through out the book. All on all anyone who can should certainly pick up this book. It made me think and it made me feel which are great attributes in a book.
Profile Image for Sandra.
154 reviews1 follower
February 3, 2015
I got this as free eBook from the author for a honest review. I like the book, this was the first book that I read in this genre. It was a mix between mystery and fantasy. Mystery is one of my favorite genre, and I didn't think I wanted to read fantasy. This book changed my mind, I enjoyed it and read it all in one day. After it got into the fantasy part I thought about not finishing, but I am glad that I finished it. Now I can't wait to read the next books to find out what happens to Nica. Also another reason I wanted to read this book was because it took place in Los Angeles, a place where I lived before. I like to read books that take place in states that I have lived in or visited.
Nica is a new PI, so new she doesn't have her license yet. In one day she gets three cases, one a missing girl, a missing gym, and a fantasy case.
There's time travel involved.
Hope you we give it a try. It will hook you!.
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