Friday Review: Dark Jenny (Eddie LaCrosse #3) by Alex Bledsoe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eddie LaCrosse is a self-described sword jockey- an ex-mercenary turned investigator for hire. In this third installment of the series, Eddie is hired to investigate a possibly adulterous nobleman. Arriving at the castle of King Marcus Drake, Eddie is immediately pulled into the court intrigue when a knight is murdered and there are two suspects: Eddie himself and the Queen. Determined to prove his innocence, Eddie jumps into the investigation at sword’s point where he finds much more in the behind-the-scenes intrigue than anyone bargained for.

Okay, so I could nit-pick about the incongruity of a medieval-style fantasy setting with very modern day conventions more like a hard-boiled noir detective novel than the usual fantasy fare. But I love Eddie LaCrosse, and I may be wrong, but I don’t think this series is supposed to be hardline, true to all the tropes fantasy. It’s a bit more tongue-in-cheek, and like Eddie himself, never takes itself too seriously. This installment borrows from Arthurian legend in part, but adds some twists and turns that take it in different directions. It is also told in a more narrative style when Eddie is sitting in Angelina’s tavern as is his habit when not working, and he receives a delivery. A coffin. The coffin and its mysterious delivery person bring back the memory of a case Eddie worked when he was younger, before Angelina’s and his current life. He’s prodded into telling the tale and the story rolls off in a series of flashbacks of sorts.

It’s different than the first two because of the flashback aspect, but it still hits all the things I love about the series. Eddie is sarcastic and witty, but not stupid. He has a knack for seeing details others miss, and reading people better than most. He is also as adept at putting those puzzle details together as he is at throwing a good punch. And he uses both skills in abundance. The story has everything I want in this sort of tale: intrigue, intriguing characters, secrets, mysteries, hidden identities, humor, some sadness, and lots of action. It’s an enjoyable, fun read.

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