The influence of Leverage is spreading throughout genre fiction. Leverage (2008-2012) was a drama TV series that centered around a group of con-artists led by a former insurance investigator. Nate brings together a team with diverse skills to stage cons and jobs on behalf of those who cannot find redress by more legal means. With witty banter and dialogue, crackerjack plotting, and a seasoned and well executed formula, the show is enormously entertaining and forms the template for heists and cons for any sort of genre. Story twists, the various defined roles of the team (the Mastermind, the Hitter, the Thief, etc), a strong sense of characters and much more are hallmarks of the series. These tools, perfected in Leverage, have clearly been recognized and scooped up by other writers for their story toolboxes (Scott Lynch comes immediately to mind). I’ve borrowed these ideas for my roleplaying games, myself.
And so we come to Greg Van Eekout’s California Bones. Greg has written one prior novel for adults (Norse Code) and several Middle grade novels subsequent to this newest work. California Bones, projected to be the first of a series, takes that aforementioned Leverage-style heist and character banter and makes it the central set-piece of the novel. In between that, we get a fascinating alternate world fantasy set in a familiar, but drastically different, Los Angeles. [Read more…]