In this second book in Bledsoe’s hard-boiled detective fantasy blend, we find freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse returning to his offices above Angelina’s Tavern in Neceda. He almost runs over a young blonde woman running for her life. He agrees to help her, but they are attacked and left for dead before they can get to safety. Not only is Laura Lesperritt dead, but the assailants also killed his horse, the only horse that ever sort-of tolerated Eddie. Eddie detemines to find out what was behind Laura’s apparent kidnapping and death, and that investigation leads to crime bosses, a hidden cult, a scandal that touches the royal family, and more including the surfacing of some old secrets. To top it off, he has a member of the king’s guard watching his every move. It’s going to take every bit of Eddie’s resourcefulness to untangle the knots in this one.
I will start out by saying that Alex Bledsoe must have had me in mind when he wrote these books. I have been a fan of the hard-boiled detective genre of stories for years, and one of my main reading interests is fantasy. And when a cross like this is as well done as the Eddie LaCrosse books are, it’s pretty much guaranteed I will be a fan.
The plot here moves fairly quickly with very few slow spots. Characters are developed, at least the main players. Eddie is as tough and cynical as he should be, and still he has a vulnerability or two. A few of the minor characters are less so, but, really, the evil henchman is just that, so not much more is necessary. Gritty and dark describe the setting quite nicely, and the feeling of being in the underbelly of the city is quite real and fitting for the detective genre.
Don’t let the “hard-boiled” description here turn you away if you are a fantasy fan, and, on the other side, don’t let the “fantasy” tag deter you detective fans. Both readers should find Eddie LaCrosse a satisfying read.
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