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Literature / Esther Diamond

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The Esther Diamond books are a comedic Urban Fantasy series written by Laura Resnick. Esther Diamond, an actress in New York, was performing as chorus girl in a struggling off-Broadway show when the musicals leading lady vanishes in a magic act. The incident introduced her to Dr. Maximilian Zadok, a 350 year old mage and New York's representative of the Magnum Collegium, an Ancient Conspiracy dedicated to fighting Evil and upholding The Masquerade.

Since then, Esther's jobs (acting or otherwise) invariably bring her, Max and her sometimes boyfriend, Detective Lopez, involved in supernatural mystical forces.

The series includes 7 books so far, with 3 more announced:

  • Disappearing Nightly (2005)
  • Dopplegangster (2010)
  • Unsympathetic Magic (2010)
  • Vamparazzi (2011)
  • Polterheist (2012)
  • The Misfortune Cookie (2013)
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  • Abracadaver (2014)
  • Goldzilla (TBA)
  • Esther Diamond #9 (TBA)
  • Esther Diamond #10 (TBA)

Tropes appearing in the Esther Diamond series:

  • Agent Scully: Detective Lopez always misses the mystical parts of the case and therefore believes the Max is crazy and drugging Esther.
  • All Myths Are True: So far, Esther's encountered dopplegangers, vampires and zombies, among others.
  • Alternate History: Lithuania faced a vampire epidemic.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Part of the Magnum Collegium's role is to prevent "mundanes" from discovering magic.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In Dopplegangster, Esther screams at the Big Bad for his various horrible deeds while hitting him, ending with the fact he nearly ruined her audition. To be fair, she's an actress and that was pretty important for her.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Max was the inspiration for Van Helsing.
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  • Bland-Name Product: Esther occasionally guest stars on Crime and Punishment.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Evil.
  • Christmas Episode: Polterheist is set in a department store, where Esther is picking up work as a (Jewish) elf.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Played for laughs. Lucky, a mafia hitman, won't let anyone mess with Santa.
  • Everyone Can See It: Played with. It's obvious to everyone that Esther and Jeff used to date.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Max occasionally names drops famous figures from history or references past adventures from centuries passed. In Vamparazzi, in lieu of direct involvement in the case, we see flashbacks of Max's last encounter with vampires and the reason he avoids Lithuanians.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Thackery and Leischneudel.
  • First-Person Smartass: Esther has her moments.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Averted and discussed. The Voudoun in Unsympathetic Magic is rich and varied.
  • Insistent Terminology: Don't call what Max does and deals with "supernatural" unless you're ready for a lecture.
    • Likewise, don't call Nellie, Max's canine familiar, a "dog".
  • I Want Grandkids: Lopez's mom.
  • Jewish Mother: Esther mom is always nagging her to find a nice man and pick more respectable roles.
  • Latin Lover: Detective Lopez, half-Puerto Rican, is very attractive and Esther's love interest.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Lopez doesn't know that he has light/fire powers.
  • Man of Kryptonite: Al Tar, the big bad of Vamparazzi is a vampire and can only be killed by decapitation and fire. Too bad he's caught by Detective Lopez.
  • Magical Society: The Magnum Collegium is a group of mages who study magic and fight Evil.
  • Meet the In-Laws: In Polterheist, Esther, and the audience, finally meets Lopez's parents. It...doesn't go well.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: In Unsympathetic Magic, Esther get mistaken for a street walker, due to her costume and and her frantic attempts to call for help.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Esther to Max.
  • Occult Detective: Max is an older, more research-oriented version of this.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vamparazzi shows us what amount to three different varieties, all rooted in an Alternate History of Lithuania.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies in ''Unsympathetic Magic" more closely resemble Voodoo Zombies, rather than Hoolywood zombies.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Max is around 350 years old, but looks around 70. When he was young, his alchemy master gave him a potion to slow his aging without Max knowing.
  • Pun-Based Title: All of them.
  • Running Gag: Max asking people if they're Lithuanian.
    • Everybody reads the tabloids.
  • Sequel Hook: Every book sets up the setting of the next book, usually in Esther next part or job.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Lopez's oldest brother claims this to combat their mother's I Want Grandkids. Their other brother says he's becoming a priest.
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: All real vampires hate goths and vampire wannabes in Vamparazzi.
  • Stripperiffic: Being an actress, Esther often finds herself still in skimpy costumes when facing Evil.
  • The Don: The Shy Don, leader of the Gambinos.
  • The Mafia: Featured prominently in Dopplegangster.
  • The Tease: Naughty and Nice, to elves in Polterheist.
  • Title Drop: Dopplegangster and Vamparazzi.
    • If the exact title doesn't get dropped, it will come close, as in Unsympathetic Magic.
  • Trenchcoat Brigade: Max wears a duster bequeathed to him by a gunslinger.
  • Voodoo Zombie: Resnick showed her work in her research for Unsympathetic Magic.
  • Voodoo Doll: They appear, called by their proper name poppet, in Unsympathetic Magic. Puma sells them to tourists. Zigzagged Trope: They are incorporated into the big bad's plan.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: In Disappearing Nightly, the main characters at some point suspect that the Big Bad is after virgins. Turns out this is true, he needs a virgin to summon a demon, and he has been keeping all the vanished girls and women prisoners, trying to finally get one who is actually a virgin. Not even the tiger he accidentally kidnapped is a virgin. He himself, on the other hand, is.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Various times, but most memorably in Vamparazzi, where Esther's Beautiful Period Dress gets torn, leaving her topless.
  • Webcomic Time: In the the 12 years the books have been published, less than a year has passed in-story.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The series never even attempts to explain why Esther keeps running into monsters.
  • Wham Line: "Does it mean anything to you, Dr. Zadok, when I tell you that I’m...Lithuanian?"
  • Wretched Hive Of Scum And Villainy: Altuna, Pennsylvania.


Example of: