Friday Review: The Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse #4) by Alex Bledsoe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this fourth book in the series, sword-jockey-for-hire Eddie LaCrosse is hired by Angelina, his friend and owner of the tavern below Eddie’s offices. Angie was the young barmaid in a harbor tavern many years ago, and she fell hard for a dashing pirate. Now, she wants Eddie to find out what really happened to Black Edward Tew, and his legendary king’s ransom in treasure. Did he really perish when the Bloody Angel, sank, or is he still alive, ruling a pirate kingdom with all that gold? Or, as some believe, are the ghosts of Black Edward and his crew still haunting the seas, leaving empty, lifeless ships in their wake? Whatever the answer, for twenty-five gold pieces a day (plus expenses), Eddie is going to find the two decades old answers. Even if it costs him a friend.

I enjoyed this story. I like the Eddie LaCrosse books, despite some criticism of the whole idea of a hard-boiled style detective story put in a medieval fantasy setting not working. To me, it does, and it works well, as long as you accept it for what it is. I am a fan of the likes of Dasheill Hammett and Raymond Chandler, so Eddie’s character is like an old friend. In this one, he is off on a really cold trail to find his friend and landlady’s lost love, a pirate of some less than honorable repute. He also reconnects with an old flame, who was a pirate herself, and is drawn into an ongoing mystery of ships being found adrift with their cargo stolen and crew simply gone. What he finds out about Angelina and Black Edward may be more than even Eddie, with his checkered past, can forgive.

This is a bit darker than earlier books in the series, and there are some unpleasant aspects to it, although it is not really bloody (or at least, no worse than you’d expect from the series). There’s a fair amount of worldbuilding, since we are seeing a different aspect of the world Eddie lives in, and it is done well. The pacing is good, with the story moving along well and the backstory is woven in well enough that it doesn’t slow the pace excessively. Angelina’s character is expanded and we see a whole different part of her life (and it’s not all good). New characters are, for the most part, nicely drawn and round out the cast well. The plot works and is resolved in a satisfying way. Wake of the Bloody Angel is another enjoyable chapter in the Eddie LaCrosse series.

But I have to add a warning- if you are at all susceptible to earworms (those songs that get stuck in your head for days or more at a time), there is a big one in here. It starts subtly (“Is that That Song? Nah, can’t be”), it builds (“Oh, no, I think it is!”), and builds until it’s too late (“Aaaahhh! Now I can’t get it out of my head!!!”) Thanks, Bledsoe. And, also, well played.

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