Review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell

hot-lead-cold-ironHot Lead, Cold Iron
by Ari Marmell
Series: Mick Oberon #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy (Historical)
Published by Titan Books, 2014
E-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Chicago, 1932. Mick Oberon may look like just another private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand.

Oberon’s used to solving supernatural crimes, but the latest one’s extra weird. A mobster’s daughter was kidnapped sixteen years ago, replaced with a changeling, and Mick’s been hired to find the real child. The trail’s gone cold, but what there is leads Sideways, to the world of the Fae, where the Seelie Court rules. And Mick’s not really welcome in the Seelie Court any more. He’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper – and of course it’s the last person he expected.

Now I’m a PI in a filthy, crime-ridden city, where I gotta talk like I’ve got a beef with grammar if I wanna halfway blend in, in a world that actually hurts me.

and

His peepers were zipping back and forth like pixies on caffeine….

Cheers

  • I love the world building and setting. 1932 Chicago isn’t a place I see much in fantasy!
  • This world parallels our world except for the magic and the Fae and other supernatural creatures.
  • One of the best new urban fantasy series I’ve read in recent years.
  • I’ve seen this book compared to the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The similarities: They both live in Chicago and Mick Oberon has a similar humor to Harry Dresden. I like Oberon’s inner dialogue and that he takes everything with a grain of salt. (Sometimes literally–he uses quite a bit of salt in this book!)
  • This book also has a slightly different take on the Fae community. I haven’t seen this twist before–that the Fae mimic human behavior. I like how the author uses this in the book.
  • The Seelie and Unseelie Courts in the Chicago Otherworld near the human city of Chicago is built from the homes or buildings destroyed or torn down in the human Chicago. The Seelie Court is modeled after the municipal government in Chicago. They use titles like Judge and Police Chief, but the titles don’t tell a person how important that Fae are. For example, the King is just one of many judges.
  • The gangsters are great characters.
  • I like all the slang the book uses. “Lamps” and “peepers” are eyes; “choppers” and Chicago typewriters” are Tommy guns.
  • The book has a number of twists and turns and I didn’t see most of them coming.

Jeers

  • I thought Oberon could have managed without making a deal with Queen Mob. That just sounds like a bad idea.

About the author

  • Besides this book which is the beginning of a new series Ari Marmell has a written a number of other books including the Widdershin’s Adventures. He’s also a long-time RPG player.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I want to read the next book in this series! Luckily, the next book comes out in a few months.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with antonyms in the title)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (e-book, $1.99)

Review: A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

a-beautiful-blue-deathA Beautiful Blue Death
by Charles Finch
Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries #1
Genre: Historical Mysteries (Victorian England)
Published by Minotaur Books, 2007
E-book, purchased
324 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, likes nothing more than to relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist the chance to unravel a mystery.

Prudence Smith, one of Jane’s former servants, is dead of an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The grand house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prue had dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by the motive for the girl’s death.

When another body turns up during the London season’s most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence Smith? Or was it something else entirely? And can Lenox find the answer before the killer strikes again—this time, disturbingly close to home?

He had always wanted to be a traveler in his heart, and while he had made it pretty far–Russia, Rome, Iceland–he had never lost that childhood vision of himself, dusty and tired but triumphant, finding something completely new out on the edge of the world.

and

The reason these clubs flourished, Lenox felt, was that this was an age of unusually rigid separation between men and women. He and Lady Jane ignored that separation, but most men spoke very little with women except at parties, and were most comfortable playing a hand of cards or smoking a cigar with their friends, a kind of solidarity encouraged in grammar school, public school, and university, all of which excluded women.

Cheers

  • I enjoy the day-to-day life Charles Lenox talks about. I like hearing about his clubs and the people he meets.
  • Charles discovered he was good at solving mysteries and since he doesn’t need money he never charges anything. He often helps Scotland Yard, but they aren’t very appreciative–though they’re glad to take the credit when he solves a case.
  • Charles agrees to investigate the death of a maid who had once been a maid for his friend Lady Jane. This investigation has a number of red herrings both for Charles and the reader. I did have an idea who the murder was (and I was right!) However, there is more to the mystery than I thought at first.
  • I like Lady Jane. Since she lives next door to Charles and they’re good friends I think she will be included in future books. I hope so.
  • This is not a thriller. More of a quiet mystery, a little old-fashioned perhaps. I enjoyed it. It was a quick book for me to read though the pace of the book is slow and steady! I know that sounds contradictory, but that’s how it felt. And it was great for a cold, winter day to sit by the fireplace and unlike Charles I could sit, stay warm, drink a hot cup of tea and read instead of venturing out in the snowy weather as he had to!
  • Charles loves to plan trips and he collects the maps he would use on those trips. He often has to cancel his trips if he’s involved in an investigation. But he dreams of the trips he might make someday.
  • I enjoy the description of Christmas with his brother’s family.
  • The imagery of the “beautiful blue death” (bella indigo) is great.

Jeers

  • Sometimes there’s an omniscient point-of-view foreshadowing events. This wasn’t necessary and I think the book would have been better without it.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I liked this first book and plan to read more books in the series. I bought several when they were on sale!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with a color in the title)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (e-book–$2.99)