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Title: Red Iron Nights
Series: Garrett, PI #6
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
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.
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.