Sweet Silver Blues by Glen Cook
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I definitely enjoyed this book, my first read by Mr. Glen Cook, and the first of many, I think. This series is a scrumptious idea: hard-boiled noir detective with faerie creature-infused fantasy, the setting not quite urban, and not quite traditional fantasy. Mr. Cook has made his own world here, and it's a fun world. I must admit that I was a bit confused at times. The characters speak in a 'cant' that took me to some time to get the hang of. Sort of like 40s movie speak, but unique to this story, with some fantasy/magic-specific references. The narrative is on the terse side, which I do like, but at times I did have to reread to make sure I was getting the drift.
The characters stand out, particularly Garrett. He's quite the tough guy, a wiseacre, who doesn't like to take orders, but will do so if the mission calls for it. He's not infallible, which is good, but he's very capable. He's not quite a boy scout, but he does have a deeply-held sense of honor that emerges on a fairly regular basis, despite his cynical narrative voice. The secondary characters are just as interesting. In this case, Garrett's mentor is an undead corpse-like being who has lots of wisdom and smarts to make up for his decaying body. And his sidekicks are a vegetarian, lecherous elf/human hybrid, and three troll/human hybrid heavies with female names, and the inability to hold their liquor. The 'deadly dames' are two sexy gnomes, one with a bad temper, and another with a bad reputation that she happily earned. Garrett is on the hunt for his ex-flame who inherited his recently deceased friend's bequest of one-hundred thousand marks of coinage. He has to go to the toughest country in the realm, and deal with ferocious unicorns, a shifty centaur, and really nasty vampires, and other heavies of various species.
I definitely appreciate the fruits of Glen Cook's imagination on offer here, and the humor was great. It made up for my moments of confusion. Although Cook keeps the action nicely interspersed in with the often-times humorous narrative, the climax was fantastic in its intensity, as Garrett and his crew take on a whole nest of vamps.
Although I did love straight mysteries growing up, I love fantasy/paranormal mysteries even more. This book has not helped my addiction. I'm glad I've been collecting these books, because I want to keep checking in with Garrett, PI on his adventures in and around TunFaire.
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