Cruel Zinc Melodies (Garrett, PI #12) ★★★☆½


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Title: Cruel Zinc Melodies
Series: Garrett, PI #12
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 407
Words: 118K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

It’s winter in TunFaire, and life has slowed down for Garrett (meaning work seldom intrudes to interrupt his beer drinking and lounging about), until a parade of lovely ladies led by his favorite fiery red-head makes its way through his door. The red-head in question is none other than Tinnie Tate, Garrett’s girlfriend, and she’s accompanied by Alyx Weider, sultry temptress and daughter of the local beer baron, and several other friends. It turns out the girls have aspirations to become an acting troupe for a new theater that Alyx’s father, Max Weider, is building to keep his youngest daughter happy and to have a new vehicle for moving more of his product.

The trouble is that Max needs some help. It seems that construction of his theater, The World, is beset by ghosts, bugs, and break-ins. Garrett figures that this is pretty much a security job, and ends up bringing in some of the usual crew including Saucerhead Tharpe and even Winger.

Right off the bat, Garrett wraps up the break-in problem, as it seems that a gang of kids was trying their hand at the racketeering business. The ghosts and bugs present a bit more of a problem. It turns out that the bugs are of sorcerous origin and the result of some sorcerous experimentation by a group of kids from the Hill, led by Kip Prose. Worse yet, the bugs have been disturbing the sleep of a large entity from a bygone age that has been slumbering for eons beneath the ground that The World is being built upon.

With Garrett’s knack for finding trouble, he ends up attracting attention from the Guard, Prince Rupert, and several nasty sorcerous types from The Hill. In the end, with the help of The Dead Man, John Stretch and his telepathically controlled rats, and a smoldering hot sorceress called the Windwalker Furious Tide of Light, Garrett eliminates the bugs and makes contact with the dormant creature (through the ghostly form of Eleanor), convincing it to be careful of the humans and creatures living above it.

My Thoughts:

Despite the story, this is just as much about Garrett growing up as anything in the mystery part. Of course, considering he’s in his 30’s, I have a hard time accepting it, but better late than never.

With all of the changes in TunFaire, Garrett has rubbed, and continues to rub, shoulders with some pretty impressive individuals. This translates to him having responsibilities shoved onto his shoulders that in earlier books he’d just have sneered at and ignored. Throw in his “relationship” with Tinnie Tate getting serious (which is what SHOULD have happened from Book 1) and suddenly Garrett is becoming an adult, finally.

What I didn’t enjoy was Garrett’s fighting that growing up every step of the way. It was like listening to a gradeschooler whine about how hard their life is because they have TWO math lessons for homework instead of the usual one. Garrett still has a lot of growing up to do.

It is also apparent that Cook is just running out of ideas. The war is over and Cook, and every character in the book, doesn’t seem to know how to write noir’ish mystery story set during a peace time. Cook doesn’t appear to be to good at writing conflict that doesn’t spring from some sort of war. While I’m not looking forward to this series ending, I won’t be sad or wishing for more once it does.

★★★☆½

Whispering Nickel Idols (Garrett, PI # 11) ★★★☆½

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Whispering Nickel Idols
Series: Garrett, PI # 11
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 311
Words: 90K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.com

Things seemed to be going pretty well for Garrett one morning until he finds a strange kid named Penny Dreadful hanging around his house, gets summoned to a meeting by Harvester Temisk, Chodo Contague’s lawyer, and nearly has his door knocked down by an ugly thug wearing green plaid pants. Garrett meets with Temisk, who fears there are unnatural events occurring associated with Chodo Contague, who may not be as paralyzed as he appears. Garrett agrees to look into the matter that evening, at a birthday party being held by Belinda Contague for her father.

At the party, when Chodo is introduced to the guests, a number of people mysteriously burst into flames, and in the confusion that follows, Belinda and Chodo somehow get separated. The whole mess seems to have some connection with the Ugly Pants Gang, who continues to harass Garrett at his home and on the streets. In addition, Garrett is getting more attention than he likes from subordinate underworld bosses who suspect that Garrett knows where Chodo Contague is hiding. Garrett can only escape the warring mafia factions for so long, and eventually he is captured, poisoned, and blackmailed by one aspiring leader named Teacher White.

With the help of his friends and the psychic powers of the Dead Man, Garrett survives the worst of the ordeal. While he rests and recuperates at home, the Dead Man organizes efforts geared towards unraveling the mysteries of the Green Pants Gang, the criminal factions, and the spontaneous combustions. Compiling the efforts of Garrett’s many friends, the Dead Man deduces that the Green Pants Gang is actually a religious faction from outside of TunFaire, and Chodo Contague had at one point worked with the gang to help him rise to the top of the Outfit.

With some clues from the Dead Man, Garrett, Morley, and company track down and capture Harvester Temisk, who had been hiding out with Chodo Contague. More clever deductive reasoning by the Dead Man reveals a few final plot twists: Penny Dreadful is in fact Chodo Contague’s daughter, Chodo was partially responsible for the previously unexplainable spontaneous combustions, and the Green Pants Gang actually knows the secret to drawing dark emotions out from within the body. With the help of Garrett and the Dead Man, Chodo’s condition improves, so that he is no longer completely physically and mentally impaired.

As a finale, Morley Dotes drops by Garrett’s house, with none other than Mr. Big, Garrett’s much-despised parrot which had gone missing for some time, perched on his shoulder.

My Thoughts:

Another good Garret PI read, with the usual caveats about him being a womanizing scumbag. Cook does seem to be trying to “mature” Garrett, as things are getting serious between him and Tinny Tate, but Garrett still balks at the word “marriage”.

The city has changed, as has Garrett in many ways, to the point where it seems obvious that Cook is trying to wrap up the series in a few more books. It obviously helps that I know that the series ends, but if I had been reading these as they came out, I would like to think I could see the hand writing on the wall. Law and Order are becoming entrenched in Tun-Faire and even those Up on the Hill are starting to feel the affects of it. The need for a PI is shrinking. Garrett is also becoming involved in bigger business issues, so he’s financially secure, with no need to do private investigating to earn his beer money. So between the city becoming more orderly, Garrett having no need to be a PI and things getting serious with Tinny, yeah, the end is in sight.

Cook also makes it apparent how much Garrett’s reputation has grown throughout Tun-Faire. With him having had all his adventures with various big names from the Underworld to those Up on the Hill, he’s earned a name as a Power to Be Reckoned With. Of course, Garrett tries to ignore all of it, as he just wants to wench, drink and sleep 24/7. What a jackass.

So, a pretty average Garrett PI story alround. If you’ve liked the previous books, you’ll like this one. I’m just glad this didn’t nosedive like I thought it would.

★★★☆½

Angry Lead Skies (Garrett, PI #10) ★★★☆½

angryleadskies (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Angry Lead Skies
Series: Garrett, PI #10
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 364
Words: 105K

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

Garrett is a detective living in the city of TunFaire. When people have problems, they come to Garrett for help, but trouble has a way of finding him.

Garrett is at home when Playmate visits, with a kid, Kip Prose. Kip has made friends with creatures that cannot quite be described, but because of his relationship with these creatures, other parties are trying to kidnap Kip. Despite his protests, Garrett gets drawn into the mess.

While searching Playmate’s stables for clues, Garrett and company are attacked by another group of indescribable assailants. Morley, Saucerhead, and Pular Singe wake Garrett and Playmate after the scuffle, but Kip Prose is gone.

Playmate and Garrett talk to Kip’s family, hoping to find clues to his whereabouts. Despite some leads, Playmate and Garrett are unable to locate Kip, although they do encounter an “elf” named Casey, who assures them Kip is in no immediate danger.

When Playmate goes missing, Garrett and Pular Singe track him down, with the Roze triplets tagging along. Pular tracks the scent to Casey’s apartment, where there are more mysterious elves. The trail eventually takes Garrett, Pular and the Rozes into the country outside TunFaire, where they find more of the elves, their spaceships, and an unconscious Playmate, Saucerhead Tharpe and Kip Prose. Garrett decides it is time to involve the Watch, who can hopefully clean up the mess.

Meanwhile, a ratman named John Stretch, Pular Singe’s brother, attempts to kidnap Pular for his own purposes. While Garrett and John Stretch come to an agreement, Colonel Block and Deal Relway try to manage the situation with the remaining elves. Garrett strikes a deal between Kip Prose, Max Weider, and Willard Tate, in which the involved parties agree to manufacture “Three Wheels”, a revolutionary new method of transportation for the citizens of TunFaire.

As a final twist, Casey escapes, thwarting the attempts of Garrett and the Watch to discover the true nature of the “silver elves”. Though Relway is angry and suspicious of Garrett, Garrett is on top of the world, with his new stake in the Three Wheel business booming and the Goddamn Parrot missing in action.

 

My Thoughts:

Much like the last book, I once again enjoyed a Garrett story. I’m thankful for that. That being said, Garrett is still a philandering jackass. There were some attempts in this book to steer Garrett towards maturity by making him a one woman man with Tinnie Tate, but honestly, if a man has been having sex with every woman he can at every chance he can for his entire life, the chances of him suddenly going into a monogamous relationship is almost zero. Or, really, staying in that relationship is almost at zero. Leopards and spots and all that.

The story itself was just so much fun, what with Cook bringing in aliens to a fantasy series. Once I realized what the “silver elves” were, I just laughed. The rest of the story with all the action and drinking and fighting and chases and palavers was good enough to keep me reading to the end of the book.

Not the greatest book I’ve ever read but nothing here made me want to quit the series, unlike Petty Pewter Gods.

★★★☆½

 

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Faded Steel Heat (Garrett, PI #9) ★★★☆☆

fadedsteelheat (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Faded Steel Heat
Series: Garrett, PI #9
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 453
Words: 131K

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

This ninth installment in the Garrett series sees Garrett visited at home by three lovely young ladies, Tinnie Tate, Giorgi Nicholas (Nicks), and Alyx Weider, daughter of Max Weider. Alyx explains that she has been sent by her father to get Garrett to investigate an apparent extortion attempt on the Weider business by The Call, a group of human rights activists headed by Marengo North English. Meanwhile, Colonel Block and Deal Relway strike a deal with Garrett: Garrett will attempt to infiltrate The Call, reporting back to Block and Relway on their activities, while Relway and Block will try to help solve the extortion attempt on the Weiders, as well as ensure the safety of the Weiders and Tates during the ordeal.

In typical Garrett fashion, things start to get complicated when Garrett is attacked by a group of thugs while poking around the Weider brewery. After cleaning up and meeting with Max Weider, Max decides it may be best for Garrett to come to Ty Weider’s and Giorgi Nicks’ engagement party the following night. When Garrett returns home, the Dead Man concurs, pointing out that it will allow Garrett to investigate the motive of his assailants, as well as help him infiltrate the upper echelons of The Call’s society.

With Belinda Contague as his date for the evening, Garrett stumbles into a party that turns dark quickly. By the end of the evening, two of Max Weider’s children have been murdered, Max Weider’s wife has died, and multiple shapeshifters have been discovered, incapacitated, and arrested. To make matters worse, Belinda Contague gets kidnapped by Crask and Sadler as the evening is winding down.

Garrett quickly hightails it to the Palms, where he has Morley hire an expert tracker, a ratgirl by the name of Pular Singe. With Pular’s help, Garrett and Morley track down Crask and Sadler, freeing Belinda and dealing the mafia skull-crackers a serious blow. When Garrett returns home, he’s shocked by what he finds: Dean and the Dead Man are gone!

The next day, with help from Colonel Block, Garrett tracks down and arrests Crask and Sadler, who are barely alive from their wounds. With this out of the way, Garrett starts his search for information on the shapeshifters, starting by visiting his friend at the Royal Library, Miss Linda Lee. After getting nowhere fast, Garrett heads back to the Weider’s estate, where he and Colonel Block manage to sort out just how and why shapeshifters infiltrated the Weider household.

With Tinnie Tate in tow, Garrett heads out to the estate of Marengo North English, where he continues his search for the shapeshifters. North English, who gets injured in a surprise attack against The Call, has little to offer, but Garrett and Tinnie still manage to uncover one shapeshifter in the midst. With the help of Morley, Belinda Contague, and Marengo North English, Garrett hatches a plan to reunite all the guilty parties back at the Weider manor in an all-inclusive finale.

In the end, Garrett manages to solve the intertwining mysteries of the Weider murders, the shapeshifters, and The Call, and he even unearths an embezzlement scheme that has bankrupted North English and The Call. After a little more detective work, Garrett and company manage to ferret out the last remaining shapechanger in TunFaire, ending the string of murders and impersonations and bringing a small amount of peace to the city. The Dead Man, who returned home with Dean, actually helped mastermind the finale at the Weider’s estate, where he had overseen the night’s events from his hiding place in a large tank of beer.

My Thoughts:

This was much better than the previous book but just wasn’t as good as the first few books. I don’t know if I’m really starting to notice Garrett’s womanizing ways more, or if Cook is writing it more, but it stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Something has changed in my enjoyment of this series, but I just can’t tell if it is me or the books. I’m going to try one more book and see what happens.

This was one busy book. So much was going on and there were these abrupt changes in directions, that I felt like a horse being yanked around with no idea of the how or why. Any confusion I felt while reading this I’m laying squarely at Cook’s feet. I’ve read enough of him to know he can write clearly, succinctly and has the ability to convey his thoughts without confusing me, so why this is happening is either because I don’t care and am skipping things OR Cook is trying to be clever and letting 1 sentence from 3 chapters ago suddenly have way more meaning than it ever should have. If the meal tastes bland, blame the Cook! Hahahahahaha.

Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed with this novel. I just wasn’t quite as satisfied as I’ve been in the past. If this series was a bunch of slices of cheesecake, I’d say that somebody started using inferior ingredients, not that my taste in cheesecake was getting jaded.

★★★☆☆

 

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Petty Pewter Gods (Garrett, PI #8) ★★☆☆☆

pettypewtergods (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Petty Pewter Gods
Series: Garrett, PI #8
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 296
Words: 80K

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

TunFaire is in a state of unrest; with the sudden end of the war in the Cantard, returning former soldiers are at odds with the half-breeds and immigrants who have taken their places in society. Garrett, however, has his own problems to worry about – he gets knocked out, brought before a group of small-time gods known as the Godoroth, and forced into working for them. The goal: find the “key” to the one remaining temple up for grabs in TunFaire, and do so before the Shayir, the Godoroth’s rivals. The Shayir find out about the Godoroth’s plans. The Shayir capture Garrett and give him their side of the story. Only with the help of a renegade Shayir called Cat does Garrett manage to escape.

As the civil unrest escalates into full-fledged street warfare, the Godoroth and Shayir elevate their search for Garrett, and Cat, who has her own agenda, is apparently the only one Garrett can trust. When the battle between the Godoroth and Shayir spills over into the world of the living, causing madness in the streets of TunFaire, the more powerful gods of the city decide it is time to intervene. After an epic battle between gods, Garrett hopes the trouble is over, but the Dead Man thinks there is still a missing piece or two to the puzzle. Eventually, the Dead Man deduces that there was yet another party behind the struggle between the Godoroth and Shayir. When everything settles down and is sorted out, the remaining gods go back to their own business, leaving Garrett to go back to his beer.

 

My Thoughts:

The only reason this got 2 Stars from me is because of the momentum the series has built up previously in how it entertains me. Well, it just used up all that capital getting me through this piece of drek.

Garrett has always been a pig but this book it seems like Cook relied exclusively on that and man, it really frustrated me.

In one example, he sees that a beautiful redheaded woman is spying on him but making no effort to hide. Which he deduces that she wants him to chase her for some reason. When she takes off into a bad part of Tun Faire Garrett deduces there will be an ambush, and he still keeps chasing her. And there is an ambush, that he’s not really prepared for. It just made me mad. Then, after he’s gotten involved with the petty pewter gods and has to try to avoid detection, he goes and gets roaring drunk with some bum and pretty much blows his cover and makes it impossible for him to help himself. Garrett was at his worst in this book and I hated it.

If the next book is just as un-enjoyable, I’ll quit the series before it gets even worse.

★★☆☆☆

 

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Deadly Quicksilver Lies (Garrett, PI #7) ★★★☆½

deadlyquicksilverlies (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Deadly Quicksilver Lies
Series: Garrett, PI #7
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 316
Words: 86K

 

Synopsis:

Wikipedia and Me

With Dean out of town, the Dead Man asleep, and only the Goddamn Parrot for company, Garrett finds himself wishing for something new. When Winger drops by with a job investigating a woman known as Maggie Jenn, Garrett bites. Maggie, meanwhile, hires Garrett to find her missing daughter, Emerald.

Everything seems to be going just fine until Garrett is attacked in the street, knocked out, and thrown in the Bledsoe’s mental ward. When Garrett escapes, he discovers that the man who put him there goes by the name of Grange Cleaver, also known as The Rainmaker.

As Garrett tries to find out more, everyone urges Garrett to be careful, as The Rainmaker has quite a nasty reputation. As usual, Morley gets involved, but when he and Garrett try to capture The Rainmaker, he manages to get away. Meanwhile, Garrett continues his search for Maggie Jenn’s daughter, only to find that Maggie has disappeared. In fact, Morley and Garrett discover that she may not actually be a woman at all and could actually be The Rainmaker!

When the Outfit gets involved in The Rainmaker’s business, the city Watch has no choice to get involved as well. Garrett gets off free of charges, but The Rainmaker is still nowhere to be found. As word of a long buried treasure gets out, even more parties climb into the fray, leaving Garrett bruised and battered again.

In a typical novel-ending plot twist, Grange Cleaver dies only to be revealed as Maggie Jenn, things settle down, and Garrett is left to mull over the possibilities.

 

My Thoughts:

This had Cook pushing the cross-dressing envelope as far as possible. He kept whether Maggie was actually Maggie or Granger a mystery right up until she dies and is revealed to be a she. It made for an uncomfortable read in places I have to admit.

The mystery side of things felt more twisty than in previous books. I don’t know that it actually WAS more “mystery”, as I don’t read much in that genre. Thankfully the fantasy elements kept me fully grounded in a genre I like, undertand and can comprehend 😉

I enjoyed my time reading this, just like all the previous books. Same caveats as always.

I am finding Garrett’s unwillingness to change in any significant manner starting to grate. Even Cook realizes it is an issue and brings it up in a sidewise manner. One of Garrett’s former romantic interests makes it clear that she let Garrett go because he wasn’t as mature as she was, and she’s 18. I don’t know how many more adventures Garrett can go through without some sort of change.

Speaking of change, Dean, Garrett’s housekeeper is out of this story and 2 former military vets take his place. Of course, they conveniently die by the end of the book. That type of literary trick works once, maybe twice, but no more than that. Cook is going to have to up his game to keep this series interesting.

★★★☆½

 

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Red Iron Nights (Garrett, PI #6) ★★★☆½

redironnights (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Red Iron Nights
Series: Garrett, PI #6
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Garrett has been coasting on the success of the last several cases but the money is getting low. Dean moves in full time to escape all of his nieces and bugs Garrett every day. Even the Deadman gets in on the action, taking a job and handing it off to Garrett.

Then the Watch hires Garrett. Against his will. Young women, from The Hill (where the rich and aristocratic live), have been slumming it down with the plebes and something has been ritually kidnapping them and then eviscerating them, on a downward spiraling time cycle. Garrett figures out that the killer is going after a certain “type” of woman, ie, black hair in a certain style with a certain body type. They catch the killer, only to have him die and the process start all over again. Garrett realizes a curse is involved and does some digging to get to the origins of it all.

At the same time, the daughter of the local Crime Lord is on the run from the 2 cronies who are her father’s head men. The Crime Lord is being used as a puppet by the Head Men (as they tried to kill him in the last book and didn’t quite succeed) and they want to get the daughter out of the way. Said daughter also fits the bill for the type of woman the curse is seeking. Garrett helps the daughter meet many of the rich and influential while “protecting” her and she makes a power play of her own. She takes over, ousts the 2 Head Men and ends up doing the same exact thing as them.

Garrett and the Deadman finally figure out what the curse resides in and tell the Watch. They capture the latest carrier of the curse and lock the cursed object away for wizards to study when they all come back from the Cantard.

Speaking of the Cantard. Glory Mooncalled makes a huge push and partially succeeds. This cripples the ability of one of the two kingdoms fighting over the region (for the silver mines. Silver is essential for magic users). Things are looking good for Mooncalled’s Republic until the Kingdom that Garrett belongs to begins using aerial recon. This gives them such a huge advantage that everyone is talking about the war ending in a year or less. The Deadman is heartbroken, as Glory Mooncalled is his hero and Garrett realizes that things are going to change in TunFaire if all the soldiers suddenly return home.

During the process of catching the Cursed Object, the Watch begins to function like it is supposed to. However, one of it’s more zealous members initiates a new group within the watch, a nascent secret police. It is super successful and Garett and the Deadman realize that social changes are about to happen to TunFaire as well.

The book ends with Garrett having a lot of money, no woman and with the realization that the whole world is about to change and not necessarily for the better.

 

My Thoughts:

Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. There is nothing spectacular that I can point to and say “THIS is what I like about the Garrett, PI books” but so far, every book I have read I simply enjoy a lot. Cook is a solid author and he knows his stuff. This is no work of art, but at the same time neither is it some grade school finger painting.

The whole thing with the Cantard and the possible changes to the city of TunFaire makes me wonder if Cook is going to go down the “Social Changes Propel the Plot” route. The whole economy of TunFaire is based on a war footing and a sudden change in that will almost literally shake the town up. Throw in the Secret Police and people not being real happy with the Nobles, well, stories with those elements can almost write themselves. Personally, I liked the Glory Mooncalled aspect, how it is revealed through dispatches and with talks between the Deadman and others. I’d be sorry to see that disappear.

I don’t ever plan on re-reading these books, hence the overly long synopsis. But if all my 3 ½ star rated books were this enjoyable, I’d be a very happy camper.

★★★☆½

 

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