Cruel Zinc Melodies
Roc, May 2008, $7.99
TunFaire is a magical city where humans and other species like dwarfs, and trolls live and prosper. Magic is taken for granted and while not everyone possesses the skill, those that do think of it as just another one of their senses. Private investigator Garrett wishes he could stay in his warm cozy home with his non-human bookkeeper/servant the ratgirl. Also part of his household is The Dead Man, a Loghyr that sticks around after he died while telepathically communicating with those in Garrett’s house and the horde of hibernating pixies.
However, his client, wealthy brewmeister Max Weider needs his help concerning the World, a dinner theater he is trying to build. People are scared off by the gigantic bugs; ghosts that come and go and protection racketeers who are getting ready to name a price Max doesn’t want to pay. Garrett takes care of the racketeers, hires the rat people to exterminate the bugs and locates the teenagers who created the insects. That leaves him with the ghosts while the Dead Man, who obtained information he culled from the minds of visitors, believes something nasty was awakened by the bug infiltration. Garrett hopes a lullaby will put this unknown malevolence back to sleep.
The latest Garrett PI thriller is an excellent fantasy noir. The hero is smart, clever, and especially devious, but each mystery he tries to solve seems multilayered with complications. There is plenty of action, sly humor, and of course magical intrigue that ricochets with the audience from laughter to fear and back as this is one author who knows how to cook a reader’s gourmet repast. Glen Cook is a fantastic worldbuilder who makes his realm feel real to the readers.