Friday, 30 May 2014
Review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: May 23rd, 2014
Mick Oberon may look like just another 1930s private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand. Among the last in a line of aristocratic Fae, Mick turned his back on his kind and their Court a long time ago. But when he’s hired to find a gangster’s daughter sixteen years after she was replaced with a changeling, the trail leads Mick from Chicago’s criminal underworld to the hidden Otherworld, where he’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper and solve the case.
Hot Lead, Cold Iron isn't the kind of book I normally read (even though I like the genre and do want to read more), but its unusual premise is what initially attracted me to it. That and the intriguing cover. It's set in 1930s Chicago and introduces Mick Oberon, private detective and the last in a line of aristocratic Fae. Instead of a gun he carries a wand (a Luchtaine & Goodfellow Model 1592), and he also has pointy ears under his fedora. Basically he kicks ass in Chicago's criminal underworld, and has a lot of style while doing it.
Oberon hasn't been back to the Fae Otherworld for a long time, but when he's hired to gangster's changeling daughter, all his rules have to change. He heads back there to find his target, dealing with the Seelie and Unseelie courts in the process, and neither are impressed with his arrival. The Otherworld itself is a fascinating place, with yawning toadstools and small leprechauns running around. It's also dangerous and dark, with Oberon having to think about every move he makes. I love anything Fae related so the part of the book in the Otherworld was my favourite, and I hope it's revisited in future sequels. I want to know more about Oberon's history there and how it all went wrong.
The scenes in Chicago are equally as thrilling and pulled me in right from the start. There's something so real about author Ari Marmell's descriptions of the locations and nightly goings on that I often found myself thinking I'd been thrown into Boardwalk Empire: The Fae Season. There's guns and gangsters, midnight shootouts and crime. Lots of crime. I'm not a gangster enthusiast myself (aside from the aforementioned Boardwalk Empire) but even I enjoyed it all, and having a faerie in the mix just made it that much better!
There were occasional slow points in Hot Lead, Cold Iron, when the action slowed and Oberon was left to piece together the changeling's disappearance. Aside from that I have no complaints whatsoever and am really excited to read 2015's sequel, Hallow Point. This is brilliant urban fantasy fiction, great fun for anyone who likes the genre and wants something a little different. Oberon is a guy you'll come to root for, while the setting of Chicago in the 30s sets it apart from other similar books. Read this if you want to meet the best Fae PI in town!