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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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)

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

2 thoughts on “Review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell”

  1. Oh, this looks very interesting! I love his Widdershins Adventures series, I wonder how this one set in a completely different time and place and genre would work for me.


    1. I haven’t read the Widdershins Adventures, but I really liked this book so I’m going to have to try his other books, too.


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