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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Dead Letter (Arcane Casebook #0) ★★★☆½

deadletter (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: Dead Letter
Series: Arcane Casebook #0
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 96
Words: 31.2K

 

Synopsis:

In 1930 New York, the sorcerers are the powerhouses of magic and the runwrights are the poor cousins. Private detective Alex Lockerby is definitely in the latter category, plying his meager magic skills to help people the regular cops ignore while barely making ends meet.

What Alex needs is a break. Just one good case to get his name out there and start bringing in business. When ambitious beat cop Danny Pak gets stuck trying to solve a John Doe murder, it might just be the break Alex has been looking for.

As Alex and Danny team up they begin to unravel a tale murder, jealousy, and revenge stretching back over 30 years. A tale powerful forces don’t want to come to light. Now the cop and the private detective must work fast and watch each other’s backs if they hope to catch a killer and live to tell about it.

Alex meets Leslie, Danny and his sister Amy and several of the cops we know from the series.

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t bother with putting up the conclusion to the “mystery” as it was almost more of a side note that was the vehicle to introduce us to all these various characters.

In that regards, this novella was a complete success. Even while Leslie (the secretary) is leaving the series in book 4, it was still nice to see how she and Alex were introduced. Amy was a fun include, even though she has zero presence in the series. Danny, I have to admit, I was hoping for more of a connection between him and Alex. They came across as just 2 people helping each other out rather than friends, but now that I write that, that is how it comes across in later books as well.

Alex is a loner and while he intersects with other people, he doesn’t seem to need a group of friends. I can totally relate to that 😀

★★★☆½

 

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Mind Games (Arcane Casebook #4) ★★★★☆

mindgames (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: Mind Games
Series: Arcane Casebook #4
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 410
Words: 133.2K

Synopsis:

Alex Lockerby, the Rune Wright Detective, is hired by a rich couple to track down their missing daughter. He finds her at with a Night Club Owner and turns the case over to the police. They find the girl in a locked room an return her to her parents. The Club Owner claims they are married and hires Alex to find the marriage certificate. Then the parents are killed with poison and the daughter ends up in the hospital barely surviving. The Night Club Owner’s lawyer hires Alex to prove his client is innocent. Turns out it was all a big con by the daughter to inherit her parents fortune AND take over the Night Club and live the good life off the profits from that.

Alex is also hired by a man whose wife shot a man to death and was caught with the gun in her hands. Unfortunately, she kills herself in the jail cell but the husband wants Alex to prove that she didn’t do it so her good name won’t be besmirched. Alex eventually tracks it all down to the wife having her mind manipulated to kill the man, who was an accountant for a rich man running for Mayor of New York.

Alex is also hired by a local priest to find out where all the Forgotten have gone to, as the mission serving them has noticed a dramatic drop in numbers. The Forgotten are the homeless and out of work from the Great Depression. Alex tracks most of them down to a factory where they are somehow being manipulated to write mass produced runes even while not having the ability.

On his own, Alex notices that a lot of the street Rune Wrights have gone to work for Happy Jack, a company that mass produces books of small runes and sells them at a cost that no street Rune Wright can match. He tracks down the man behind Happy Jacks, a man who has figured out how to add a mind control rune to every rune in a Happy Jacks book of runes. This makes people susceptible to key words spoken by key individuals. This owner is in cahoots with the man running for Mayor and they plan to win the election by making everyone who buys a Happy Jack book vote for said rich man. Alex and Iggy put a stop to that with a warding rune and in the confrontation with the Happy Jack’s owner, Alex is forced to shoot him to death.

Alex and Sorsha the Sorceress track down the man who was responsible for it all, the rune wright. He is taken into FBI custody but reveals to Sorsha that Alex and Iggy have the Archimedean Monograph. Sorsha kills him when she realizes that while it may be true, it is just a way for the man’s confederates to get their hands on it.

While all of this has been going on, Iggy has been researching the Life rune and figures out how to give Alex life essence back. This solves the problem Alex created by giving up decades of his life to rescue the city in the first book.

The book ends with Alex’s secretary leaving the business to get married and a new secretary coming aboard, one who is supposedly clairvoyant but seems to be a spy for somebody.

My Thoughts:

Well, this series continues to peak my interest and keep me coming back for more! Lots of things get wrapped up in this book even while bigger and possibly more evil things are revealed.

First the romance. In the previous book I guessed that Alex would fall in love with Jessica’s daughter. Strike out for me. There is a scene where he meets her but she is too much like her mother for him to handle, so the author makes it clear THAT isn’t going to happen. The secretary is getting married, so she’s out. Considering how much Sorsha and Alex interacted in this book, and the hints that other side characters revealed, my bet is going on Sorsha. I thought that was too obvious, but once again, I strike out. Good thing I’m already married to Mrs B or I’d be a hopeless lunk. Come to think of it, things weren’t so hot for me in the romance department before I met Mrs B, so maybe there’s my answer? 🙂

With the title it is pretty obvious that some sort of mind control rune is behind everything, even while that is supposedly impossible. But Rune Knowledge, much like technical knowledge, is increasing at a frenetic rate. The implications of some of the things Alex learns aren’t really sussed out, but all it takes is just 5 minutes of thought and wham! Rune Wrights with eternal life. Rune Wrights controlling peoples’ minds, even sorcerer’s minds. In fact, when Sorsha gets controlled and tries to kill Alex, that whole sequence was really cool. Goes to show that Alex really does have a brain in his skull.

Now that Alex can live a very long time, this series has potentially moved into the Never Ending Category. At the moment I’m ok with that, as each story has been rather standalone and that works just fine for me. What would kill this for me is if the author starts some huge story arc and makes each book just a part of that instead of telling a complete story in each book. I think we’d also better start seeing some of the rules of Rune Wright’ery. As much as I hate comparing authors, I do believe that Brandon Sanderson has moved the bar up several notches for explaining a magic system since he debuted. I don’t need to know every gritty detail, but a bit more substance to the magic system would be nice. I did find myself asking, several times, what is the correlation between shapes, inks, metals, etc, that a rune wright uses?

In the last book Alex had a rune shotgun, which I thought was just awesome. This time he gets a tommygun. You can see it on the cover. That is just wicked cool looking. That is another thing I’m liking about these books, the covers. They’re wicked attractive but not chintzy glitter crap. While I don’t exactly pick out my books based on covers alone, having a good cover can be that feather that tips the balance in a book’s favor.

The author’s afterward gives the name for the next book, so I’m confident I’ll see it in a couple of months. I’ve also got the prequel novella (which the author is giving away for free) to read, so the end of my enjoyment of this series can be staved off for at least another week.

★★★★☆

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The Long Chain (Arcane Casebook #3) ★★★★☆

longchain (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: The Long Chain
Series: Arcane Casebook #3
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 343
Words: 111K

 

Synopsis:

From Danwillisauthor.com & Me

In a city the size of New York, things go missing all the time. When a Nobel-Prize winning Chemist vanishes without a trace, his granddaughter taps Alex to find him. Locating people is easy for someone with the best finding rune in the city, but when Alex tracks down the missing man, he has no memory of who he is or what happened to him, and his research is gone.

Convinced that something sinister is afoot, Alex sets out to uncover the truth. Before he can learn anything concrete, however, the city is shrouded in a dense fog and that brings New York’s resident sorceress, Sorsha Kincaid, to his door. She needs Alex’s finding rune in order to trace the source of the unnatural fog, and she has no patience for his other cases.

Alex also is hired by Dr Killian, the Alchemist giving him his reinvigorating potion, to find a missing friend of hers. He gladly accepts, as this will give him more reason to be around Dr Killian’s apprentice Jessica.

Turns out the Chemist is secretly working for the Navy creating a magic fog machine. Only problem is, the compounds he uses are unstable and go up in flames eventually. With the fog covering all of Manhattan, the potential is the fire bombing of the entire city. Alex also uncovers that there is a spy in the Navy trying to sell the fog machine to the Chinese. Alex and Sorsha track down the spy, recover the Chemist’s notebook, which allows the Chemist to shut his machine down without firing New York.

Alex finds the missing Alchemist but along the way discovers some disturbing things about Dr Killian, Jessica and a young girl who appears to be an insane murderer. Dr Killian’s daughter has polio and the cure is in Dr Killians’ blood. She gives 2 vials for safekeeping to Alex, as it turns out she has been taking a lethal alchemical mixture over the years that allows her to grow younger for 12hrs. One of these younger versions is Jessica and the overdosed version is the insane killer. Dr Killian uses up her lifeforce to stop the megalomaniac who has kidnapped the Alchemist and her to free Alex so he can get the blood sample to the daughter.

The book ends with Alex meeting up with the man who was introduced as the Shadow Master in the previous book. The Shadow Master reveals that there is another World War coming and that he expects Alex to use the power of the Archimedean Monograph to prevent it. This Shadow Master gave Alex’s mentor the Monograph so that he could stop the first World War but Iggy deemed the book too dangerous to use. Shadow Master warns Alex not to make the same mistake. He also gives Alex another year of life by infusing him with the lifeforce of 50 pigs and tells him to figure out how it was done so he can continue living. The point being that the Shadow Master has been around for a very long time.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed myself immensely with this book. I really suspected that things weren’t going to work out between Alex and Jessica, but I totally didn’t see it being because of the whole Jekyll/Hyde/MurderGirl thing. I found that to be very clever. Considering that Jessica IS Dr Killian and Dr Killian’s daughter is probably a bit younger than Alex, it would not surprise me if she gets cured by the polio potion and becomes Alex’s love interest. I’ll just have to wait and see. Sorsha is too obvious a candidate.

I do have to admit that I was glad at the end of the book that Alex is shown that life extension runes are possible, as it was getting a little old throughout the book of him wondering when he was going to die. If it had been me writing though, I would have had him die soon after Dr Killian, lovers united in death and all that.

I’ve really been enjoying the “standalone” nature of each of these books. Several cases all tying into each other but completely wrapped up by books end. That formula starts to unravel with the ending of this book and the Shadow Master revealing himself and his plans to Alex. It has the potential to be a really good thing for the series but personally, I hope Willis stays to the Standalone side of things.

I have been enjoying this series this month and while I can’t unreservedly recommend it, I do highly recommend it. I think the fact that I chose to break my reading rotation to chow down on these says more than anything I could actually write.

★★★★☆

 

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Ghost of a Chance (Arcane Casebook #2) ★★★★☆

ghostofachance (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: Ghost of a Chance
Series: Arcane Casebook #2
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 361
Words: 117K

 

Synopsis:

From Danwillisauthor.com & Me

When a bizarre string of locked-room murders terrorize New York, the police reluctantly turn to their magical consultant, private detective Alex Lockerby, to catch a killer who can walk through walls.  Dubbed the Ghost by the tabloids, Alex will need every rune in his book to solve the case with no suspects, no leads, and no time to spare.

Unfortunately Alex’s magic hasn’t been working very well of late.  He can’t even manage to track down several truckloads of stolen goods, including one belonging to New York’s preeminent sorcerer, Andrew Barton.  To make matters worse, Alex and his clients are being stalked by a shadowy cabal with strange powers that Alex has never seen before.

With the Ghost seemingly able to murder at will and the tabloids, the public, and Alex’s clients demanding results, Alex will need a miracle to keep himself, his clients, and his reputation alive.

Alex also has to deal with the effects of his Escape Rune from the previous book that has shaved an unknown number of years off of his lifespan. Iggy, his mentor, puts him in touch with an alchemist and Alex gets involved with her apprentice.

All of the cases are almost tied together, as the Ghost turns out to be a man killing the group of people who cheated him out of his land years ago, land which could have been sold to raise money to save his wife. Barton’s missing motor is linked to a group that wants to steal a literal boatload of gold in a museum and the presence of Mayan Runes are revealed. The same shadowy Man of Mystery is the one supplying both groups with Mayan runes that allow them to do the extraordinary things they do.

Alex solves everything, gets a lot of money and publicity, thinks Jessica (the assistant alchemist) might be the One and both Alex and Iggy wonder who the Shadow Master is.

 

My Thoughts:

This was fun! I think what I liked the most was that the author makes what Alex does at the end of the first book (using the Escape Rune) really matter here. He’s not just shrugging off a broken leg or something. He’s lost years, possibly decades, of his life and it’s showing. His hair is white, he doesn’t have the energy and strength he used to, his hands shake (which for a rune wright is disastrous) and generally he’s “old”.

Getting introduced to another Sorcerer was interesting and I’m glad we’re not stuck on Sorsha. With him getting interested in Jessica though, we’ll see what happens between him and Sorsha. Jessica seems a bit too absorbed in her work for something to work out long term with Alex. I just hope the author doesn’t go into Triangle Territory. And honestly, deep characterization isn’t his forte.

The multiple mysteries were just as fast and furious as in the first book. I’d prepared myself though, so it didn’t overwhelm me. I still found myself wishing that one or more had been cut and a greater depth given to the remaining ones. That’s not even really a complaint, just more of a “wish”.

I liked this even more than the first book and have the 3rd and 4th books already lined up. I’m really glad that Larry Correia recommended this author to his fans, as it has turned out to be a huge hit with me. It shouldn’t have, as urban fantasy set in an alternate 1930’s isn’t my thing, but I guess just like the Grimnoir Chronicles, if it is done exactly right, it hits me like a ton of bricks. And I love every brick hitting me!

Finally, the covers. The author has some high res covers on his website and while I’m not using them for these reviews, I can already tell they are going to win all the Cover Love awards at the end of the month. I think the real decision will be whether I include them all or try to pick the best of the bunch. I’ve included a link to the high res cover. But come on, a rune infested shotgun, suspenders and a burning rune? And I wish my chin and hair looked like that. High Res Cover.

★★★★☆

 

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In Plain Sight (Arcane Casebook #1) ★★★☆½

inplainsight (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: In Plain Sight
Series: Arcane Casebook #1
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 301
Words: 90.3K

 

Synopsis:

Alex Lockerby is a Private Investigator in the 1930’s, an alternate 1930’s, where magic is real. Alex himself is a Runewright, someone capable of drawing runes and powering them. Alex was orphaned and brought up in a local church ministry and he still has strong ties to the priest that helped raise him. Alex also helps out the police as a consultant, when they’re willing to pay.

The book opens with Alex declaring a dead body to be a murder and that the murderers can be caught at a highly secure facility in a day or two as they attempt to rob it. The next day Alex finds out the priest is dead along with everyone in the rectory. Some sort of magic plague was loosed and the police and the FBI want the perpetrators found before they loose the plague on a high profile case. Alex also takes on a case of a missing brother for an attractive brunette and finds out that the brother was researching new runes.

In a nutshell, Alex sleeps with the brunette, finds out she isn’t the missing man’s sister, tracks down the plague carriers and solves the case of the first murder victim. Everything ties together and comes together in big kablam’y fashion as German Agents are trying to kill some of New Yorks’ finest wizards to start a war in the United States between magic users and non-magic users. He ends up using a rune to save the city from a (non)floating Wizard’s Keep and possibly loses decades of his life. He also finds out that his mentor, a private detective who taught Alex everything he knows, has the forbidden book of magic that most new runes come from. Also turns out his mentor is Arthur Conan Doyle, who faked his death to throw those seeking out the forbidden tome off his trail.

Alex agrees to forget the tome of power and just be a magical PI.

 

My Thoughts:

For a book that is urban fantasy AND taking place in the 1920-1930’s, I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I was introduced to this book by a post from Larry Correia. He occasionally does a Book Bomb where he promotes a book of a friend or a new’ish author whose work he likes and encourages all his readers to go buy a kindle copy to push the stats of the book up and make the author more visible. He has done it enough that I guess it works. It worked for me and I managed to snag a copy for 99cents, so I’m not complaining. Especially when I had a digital coupon for 99cents!

As soon as the brunette showed up I knew Alex was going to sleep with her. It’s what detective do I guess. Of course, him deducing that she wasn’t a real brunette from that experience and that leading him to figure out she wasn’t the missing man’s sister had me rolling my eyes. Not to be crass, but just because your pubic hair doesn’t match the color of your hair on your head doesn’t mean you dye your hair. Sigh. Biology, people!

Other than that, this was a fun romp filled with mystery and adventure. Having 3 cases all at once was a bit much but it kept the book from ever bogging down, as any time Alex had downtime from one case he had to immediately continue working on the other two. While I wasn’t exhausted by the end of the book, I “felt” tired 🙂

How runes work isn’t gone into in exhaustive detail. That might be off-putting for some people but for me it was perfect. I just want to know that something works, that there ARE rules and that the character can’t break those rules without consequences. As long as the author doesn’t have Alex pulling rabbits out of his butt to save the day, I’m ok with vague rules of magic. A bit of mystery is a good thing.

I enjoyed this book enough to seek out the next 3. I plan on binge reading them all this month, along with the Hall of Fame SF collections, just to break up my reading rotation. Planned shake ups are much better than suddenly going off the reservation and crashing and burning. Here’s to hoping the next books are just as interesting.

★★★☆½

 

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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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Dread Brass Shadows (Garrett, PI #5) ★★★☆½

dreadbrassshadows (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: Dread Brass Shadows
Series: Garrett, PI #5
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Garrett walks out his front door one day and sees his sex buddy, Tinny Tate, stabbed in front of his eyes. He and one of his buddies chase the perp down but the guy knows nothing, almost like whoever sent him knew the Dead Man lived at Garrett’s house. Garrett tells Tinny’s uncle and he has her taken home where she receives the best medical care money can buy. Uncle Tate also tells Garrett to find whoever sent the perp and that he, Uncle Tate, wants a piece of them.

The next day a nude, wounded redhead who looks remarkably like Tinny collapses on Garrett’s front step. He brings her in to recover. The Dead Man tells Garrett to go visit the local head of the Dwarves. After the interview in which Garrett learns that a “Book of Shadows” is somehow involved, he is attacked by an out of town gang of dwarves. He is saved by two of the guys who work for the local Crime Lord. When Garrett gets home the redhead has disappeared.

The next day yet ANOTHER redhead shows up, wanting to hire Garrett to find this book of Shadows. It was created by a witch and can allow anyone who reads it to turn into other people. Garrett can only imagine what could be done with that and sets out to find it just so he can destroy it.

The Crime Lord gets involved as he knows he can almost live forever with a book like that under his control. He knows Garrett will get in his way and so he tries to kill him. The 2 henchman, who are the Crime Lord’s Right and Left Hand, abandon him when they realize they’ll never be able to replace him, as he will never die. They contact Garrett and ask for help in assassinating the Crime Lord.

Everybody, Tates, Dwarves, the Witch who created the Book, Garrett and Henchman, and Others, all converge on the Crime Lord’s estate. A huge blood bath ensues but nobody knows where the book is. Garrett eventually remembers that the Nude Redhead had a parcel with her and finds it at his house, under the bed. Voila, the book. He destroys it.

Life settles down back to normal, as normal as life in TunFaire can be anyway.

 

My Thoughts:

Cook did a very good job of keeping me as mystified as Garrett. I hadn’t a clue what was going on and while a sharper minded person might have remembered the package and deduced everything, I’d completely forgotten about it and so was completely at sea.

A simple mystery for a simple man. I was happy, for the most part, with what I read. Each book I have to wrestle with Garrett being a womanizing, immoral pig. It’s the main reason these will never get a real high rating from me, no matter how much I might enjoy them. But once I deal with that, then I enjoy the rest of the book. It has been that way for every book and I suspect it will be that way for each future book as well.

I did like the shakeup of the Crime Lord getting whacked and his two subordinates taking over. That should help make any future storylines a tad bit different, even if only superficially. But considering these are superficial stories, that should be enough.

More of the same, more of the same.

★★★☆½

 

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Old Tin Sorrows (Garrett, PI #4) ★★★☆½

oldtinsorrows (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: Old Tin Sorrows
Series: Garrett, PI #4
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 252
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Garrett is resting on his laurels. With enough money, why take on work and do more than you have to? Then his old army Sarge comes calling and Garrett makes the mistake of letting him in the door thinking it is a social visit. He is quickly disabused of that notion when his old Sarge hires him to find out who is trying to kill Sarge’s employer, a retired general.

Garrett is ostensibly hired to find out if any of the General’s staff are pilfering items and he is to use that as cover to find out who is slowly killing the General. Problem is, there is a very small pool of staff still around, as the General isn’t well liked. Those still around are there because in the General’s will he states that his estates will be divided half to his daughter and the rest divided up among the staff. Staff have been leaving for years though and Garrett suspects one of those who left has a grudge against the General.

Garrett also finds out the house is haunted by a ghost. A beautiful blond that no one seems to see or even know who she might be. Eventually Garrett rules out poison and calls in an exorcist for the General. But not before he has slept with the ghost (yeah, for real) AND the general’s daughter. Turns out the ghost was the General’s first wife who he had murdered and she’s been haunting him. The disappearing staff members though are a different matter. They haven’t been leaving, they’ve been murdered. By the daughter, who is a crazy psychopathic killer who wants to keep the failing estate all to herself.

Garrett reveals all, the ghost confronts her killer and crosses over and the daughter runs off a 4th story balcony while trying to kill Garrett. Garrett goes home and finds solace in the arms of the young woman he met in the previous book.

 

My Thoughts:

You know, from that synopsis, I would never read this book or this series. A womanizing, alcoholic private eye who is lazy? No thank you. However, Cook got his literary claws into me with his Black Company books and I have to say, I am glad.

Once again, I really enjoyed this book. While a bit drearier and less humorous than the previous 3, and my eyes definitely rolled when Garrett had a roll in the sack with a ghost and the general’s daughter, I just found myself WANTING to read more. I seriously considered just ignoring my own rules of rotation and reading the next Garrett book. Thankfully, I didn’t give in to temptation. I’m not Garrett after all. I didn’t really try to analyze the “why” of my enjoyment but now that this has happened for 4 books, I think during my read of the next book I’ll be taking a look at myself while reading to see if I can nail down just what I actually enjoy.

Part of my enjoyment springs from the fact that while these are part of a “series”, each book has been a standalone story. Something I can sink my teeth into for a day or two and then just let go. Also, these are not taxing books. I’m not desperately trying to keep track of a whole host of characters nor a slew of plot lines. While Cook likes to throw in some misdirection here and there, we as readers are still just moving in a straight line from Beginning to End. I really appreciate that.

★★★☆½

 

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