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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Cold Copper Tears (Garrett, PI #3) ★★★☆½

coldcoppertears (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: Cold Copper Tears
Series: Garrett, PI #3
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 249
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Garrett is taking it easy, what with all the success from previous cases. However, a sultry blonde perks his interest, especially when it is obvious she is hiding the real reason for coming to him. Then the Grand High Inquisitor of the Church comes to Garrett, wanting to hire him. After accepting these two curious cases, Garrett is suddenly assaulted. For no reason that he can tell.

He gets some help from the major Crime Boss, who is then assaulted by a godlike being. Garrett, with some help from some potions from an earlier client, drives it off, thus continuing the debt of gratitude the Crime Boss owes him.

After lots of action, and a street girl suddenly becoming his understudy and claiming she’s going to marry him, Garrett puts it all together. A long dead, malevolent loghyr, has been masquerading as a god of destruction so long that it has come into being. Garrett tracks down the loghyr, informs the Crime Boss, and let’s nature take its course. A loghyr body might not decompose but it sure can be eaten by hungry rats!

Garrett is richer than ever. But now he has to figure out what do with the street girl and with Tinnie. Garrett isn’t the marrying kind.

 

My Thoughts:

I had fun reading this. I didn’t bother to try to figure out anything ahead of time. I just sat back, let Garrett get the crap beat out of him, watched him beat the crap out some others and generally had a fantastic old time.

The humor continues to work for me, Garrett hasn’t annoyed me yet and his womanizing hasn’t crossed the line yet either. I do have to say, that is what caused this book to stay at 3  1/2 stars instead of moving up to 4. Poor Garrett gets ambushed in his own bed by the street girl (well, she’s 18…). I’m getting the feeling that Female X will show up for a book or three and then shove off. I was kind of hoping that Tinnie would move into friendship territory and become a regular part of the cast. Not looking too promising at the moment.

My other gripe is the tired old cliché about gods taking their power from their believers, etc, etc. This story is dealing with gods and churches and what not, so while I was kind of expecting it, it just really hit me wrong this time. As I was reading through I had ask myself what kind of person worships a god that they themselves have created? What’s the point? Made me glad I’m a Christian who serves the One True God. He’s said He’s the only God. So either it is true and I’m all set, or it is a lie and I’ve got nothing to fear from a being that can lie about Reality itself. Despair, yes, but not Fear.

Cook writes well here and as long as he doesn’t start recycling story lines (something I can see happening with 14’ish books in the series) I don’t foresee any problems with continuing on until the end. Of course, the series did kind of peter out in ’13, so I’m only getting closer and closer to landmine territory with each new book.

My goodness, for a book I thoroughly enjoyed, I certainly rained on it enough didn’t I?

★★★☆½

 

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Bitter Gold Hearts (Garrett, P.I. #2) ★★★☆½

bittergoldhearts (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: Bitter Gold Hearts
Series: Garrett, P.I. #2
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Garrett is paid to consult on a kidnapping case for one of the rich and powerful folks of town.Everything seems to be just fine until someone murders the girl who was the go between, who happens to be related to the kidnap victim. Then the heir, who was returned, supposedly kills himself. A wagonload of gold has also disappeared. Garrett is then hired by the remaining daughter to ostensibly find the gold but to also find out what is going on.

Garrett figures everything out but has to reveal it all to the Head of the Family who has just returned from the war. She’s a Storm Lord of no small power and she ends up killing almost everyone involved to cover it all up so her “honor” won’t be besmirched. Garrett realizes what is happening in the nick of time and wraps things up neatly and presents the “evidence” to the other Storm Lords. They strip her of her power and the daughter inherits.

And that wagonload of gold? It disappeared, just like the Steward, who hired Garrett to consult in the first place.

 

My Thoughts:

Garrett sleeps with a lot of women. First, there’s the woman from the previous book, who is away for this one. Then there’s the cousin who ends up murdered and is the cause of Garrett really staying involved in the whole thing. Then there’s the daughter of the Storm Lord. Between all that wenching and the gallons of beer he consumes, I’m surprised Garrett hasn’t died from either syphilis or his liver giving out.

Other than bit of moralizing, I had a blast reading this. Garrett and some shady characters invade a criminal troll stronghold and end up burning the place down. It was violence and action and comedy and humor all in one situation and I loved it. Garrett does a lot of skulking around and I could have done with a little less of that, but eh, he’s a P.I., skulking is part of the job.

I really liked the ending, with the Storm Lord going full on murder spree and Garrett stopping her before she murders him and his friends too. I didn’t see it coming, so when Cook sprang it on me, I was quite surprised, as it meant the book didn’t end with a little “oh, I’ve solved things, lets go home now” from Garrett

I don’t think that I could tell you that the guy who wrote this series is the same guy who wrote the Black Company books. It’s not just the change in sub-genre (comedic detective fantasy versus dark fantasy) but so far, I’ve seen nothing related to or from the Black Company or the Dread Empire. Not a phrase, not a character type, not a situation. That is really good. After 10 books of the Black Company and almost as many with the Dread Empire, I like this change. I hope this tempo can be sustained for another 12 books.

I just realized that maybe I should be adding the mystery tag, as Garrett is private detective after all. But while I will be, these don’t strike me as mysteries. I don’t know if it is because I’ve been steeped in the Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters type of mystery for so long or what.

★★★☆½

 

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A Rare Benedictine (Brother Cadfael #21) ★★★☆☆

rarebenedictine (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: A Rare Benedictine
Series: Brother Cadfael #21
Author: Ellis Peters
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Medieval Mystery
Pages: 130
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

3 short stories. One about how Cadfael chose to become a monk and then 2 that were referenced in other books but never fleshed out.

 

My Thoughts:

Apparently, the previous book, Brother Cadfael’s Penance, was the “real” final book in the series. I kind of wish I had known that going in to this book so I wasn’t constantly looking for a series wrapup.

This was just a series of short stories about Cadfael. Beyond the first one where we find out just how Cadfael becomes a monk, the other stories felt extremely familiar, almost like re-treads. Nothing bad but nothing really good either. Decent reads is what I’d qualify it as.

I felt very “whatever” at the end of the book and am glad I’m done with Cadfael. Between this and the bomb that P.D. James turned out to be, I think I’m done with any sort of “mystery” genre or sub-genre for quite some time.

★★★☆☆

 

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Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh #1) ★★☆☆½

coverherface (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: Cover Her Face
Series: Adam Dalgliesh #1
Author: P.D. James
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 256
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A young woman has been taken on as a part time servant at the Maxie resident. Said young woman causes as many small problems as she can and ends up being choked to death one night.

Detective Dalgliesh is assigned to the case and begins to uncover the web of sins connecting the household. The true story is told, the murderess confesses and life continues for those left behind.

Not a cozy mystery but more of a bottom feeding, slime pit mystery.

 

My Thoughts:

In my review of the Mistletoe Murder, I used the word “sordid”. I was afraid of getting more of that here. Thankfully, that was not the case. However, what I did get wasn’t much better.

I am not a fan of series where the titular character is barely there or plays almost no part in the story. Miss Marple springs to mind. I gave up on those mysteries when she stopped being the central “character”. Adam Dalgliesh was almost invisible in this story. In fact, the last 10 pages or so gave him more character than the whole of the book before those 10 pages. I felt like he was a hat rack for James to hang her literary hat upon. He was featureless, bland, plodding and was not a “character”.

I am also not a fan of unlikeable characters. From the murdered woman all the way up to the Matron of the House, there wasn’t a likeable person among them. The Matron’s two adult children were petty, self-centered bitter people. The two houseguests were delusional on one hand and quick to enjoy the suffering of others on the other. The dead girl’s uncle stole her small inheritance. The dead girl pretends to be a single mother so she can get all sorts of free stuff and then claims that the Matron’s son asked her to marry him. He doesn’t deny it even though he didn’t. And through it all, the dead girl was married almost 2 years ago and is expecting her secret husband back any time. She says what she says and does what she does just to cause chaos and turmoil and pain.

Now how am I supposed to enjoy reading about a group of people like that?

I don’t read books to experience the worst of humanity. I know it exists and it is real but my books are for me to escape, to aim for something higher. This gave me none of that.

I think I am done with James. Her desire to drag her readers through the mud and slimepits of her characters isn’t compatible with my desire to be actually entertained while I read. Her writing ability may be great, but it is wasted as far as I’m concerned, being used that way.

★★☆☆½

 

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The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories ★★☆☆½

mistletoemurder (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 Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories
Series: ———-
Author: P.D. James
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 176
Format: Hardcover Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of 4 stories about murder. None are connected nor did I care enough to outline each story or even bother to list them.

 

My Thoughts:

* Spoilers *

Sordid. That is the one word that I felt best described this small book of short stories by P.D. James. One of the stories is told by the murder/rapist and left me feeling disgusted. Another one was told by the Granddaughter of the murderess and it is justified in their eyes. Homosexuality, blackmail and suicide. Filth.

Two of the stories dealt with James’ detective character Adam Dalgliesh (which I still can’t spell without looking it up) and he might as well have been as invisible as a hat on a hat rack. You could have changed the name to John Smith and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. He had zero personality and almost no part to play in either one.

From an entertainment standpoint, this was a complete failure. I was not impressed and I suspect I would not have liked James and her disgusting love of all things perverse.

That being said. She can WRITE. I hate it when this happens. Why does someone who writes like she can have to delve into the filthy underbelly of humanity and seem to ENJOY it so much? Upon finishing this I immediately went to the library and got the first Adam Dalgliesh book. I’m giving that 2 books for James to convince me that she doesn’t actually like murderers and rapists. But if I get that sordid vibe again, James will be off my list.

★★☆☆½

 

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