Glen Cook is an author that I intellectually know I should love but just doesn’t jive with my style. At least, that’s what I thought about him having tried and failed to read the Black Company three times. It was excellent world-building but, for some reason, I wasn’t able to appreciate it the way I wanted to so I ended up dropping the series. Still, I was attracted to the prospect of another supernatural PI story. I’m a huge Dresden Files fan and the idea of a normal non-magical PI in a fantasy world seemed a cool reversal.
A former friend of his is killed in an accident and leaves his vast fortune to a mysterious woman. Named executor of their estate, Garrett is compelled by the substantial fee he’s offered to go back to war-torn Cantard in order to find her.
For the most part, I very much enjoyed the book and the whole idea of a detective novel in a fantasy land is something I’m absolutely down for. I mentioned that I felt like Dragon Age 2 would have been improved greatly if instead of being a nobleman, Hawke had ended up opening a private Inquisitive service. Anyway, the parts about investigating Kayean Kronk’s mysterious disappearance as well as dealing with the late Denny Tate’s partners are the best in the book.
Unfortunately, the final third of the book is a bit of a let down as it goes from being a detective novel to being more straight action fantasy with battles against unicorns, vampire hunting, and other fights to the death that are less interesting. There’s also the fact women aren’t terribly well-represented in the book. Rose Tate, one of a pair of beautiful redheaded gnomish sisters, threatens to tell everyone Garrett sexually assaulted her at one point. Which, later on, he gets her back for along with a beating from one of her goons by sending a man to kidnap her then spank her naked in public. Yeah. Yikes.
I was also somewhat disappointed with the fact we never get much in the way of conversation with Kayean Tate. Despite being someone who is the focus of numerous interesting storylines, she says all of two words in the novel. I feel like conversations with the protagonist would have been a lot more interesting than stabbing vampires through the heart with unicorn horns. Which, compared to my fourteen-year-old-self’s fantasy tastes, must sound like blasphemy.
Overall, Glen Cook is a fantastic author and I really love this peanut butter and jelly sandwich he’s made of genres. Unfortunately, I really wish he’d stuck with the PI elements of the book heavier than he did. He sort of wandered off into, admittedly, very well written action scenes. I will probably read the rest of the series but I hope the handling of the feminine sex gets better.