I have been reading a lot of fantasy recently, and so much of it has just blended together in my mind. There's a fair amount out there that is good, but much of a sameness with everything else. There are relatively few distinctive voices.
So, when this
fantasy-crossed-with-noir popped up, I was more than ready to read it.
As soon as I started it, I could see the noir edges the author was
trying to put on a fantasy tale, with a hard-boiled
detective/enforcer/former noble, and the cases he tries to solve,
including one little sordid tale of adultery and running away. Bledsoe has a
good feel for the sleaziness and corruption that mark the best noir
As it went on, Eddie LaCrosse delved into the main
mystery, finding out for his old best friend, now king, whether or not
the queen really did murder her child in cold blood on a moonlit night.
She looks damned familiar to LaCrosse, though, and he has to find out
whether she's a consummate con artist, or if something stranger is going
The book got a little further away from noir in the later
parts, and more into a fantasy, but the voice stayed distinctive enough
that I continued to enjoy it. This is a grimy world, where most people
are just trying to stay alive, and small cities are rife with corrupt
cops, sleazy businessmen, and stacked blondes.
There are some
good female characters too, despite that. They aren't the focus of the
story, but they aren't entirely one-dimensional either.
is a fantasy, sometimes the strangest answers can end up being the true
ones. The ending isn't quite as convoluted as I thought it might be,
but it ties everything up nicely, and it was such a relief to read
something that felt different. That may be artificially inflating my
impression of the book, but it was a fun read, and very welcome.