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by Ari Marmell
Titan Books, May 2014
313 pages
ISBN: 1781168229

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Say youíre married to a lower level mobster in Chicago. Itís 1930-something. Youíre living with your mother-in-law, who is a real witch. As in a casting spells witch. And your sixteen-year-old daughter is changing in front of your eyes. Not your normal, run-of-the-mill teenage years changing. Yes on the mood swings, yes on the misbehaving, big yes on the violent outbursts, yes on the changing body stuff. But still not normal - not growing into a young woman normal. Changing into something you've literally never seen before. Who do you go to? Mick Oberon, private eye and a member of the Fae aristocratic world who walked away a long time ago.

It's not a job Oberon wants. He's doing fine without having to deal with his past and he'd like to keep it that way. Admittedly, he's been known to use some of his Fae talents to get a job done, but he's just as likely to rely on the brain and brawn he has just be being (sort of) human. He's not afraid of a fight, although he tends not to start them. Once he takes a job, he'll finish it - he's that kind of honest. Which is how he winds up taking this job he really doesn't want. It's the only way he can think of to keep a promise to a friend. Oberon knows it will mean going back into the kingdom of the Fae; he's willing to do this because it's what has to be done. He also knows that this job will not be easy, and not end nicely. It's not his first rodeo.

Say you're a fan of Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne. You're caught up on all the books they have out right now. You like Max Allan Collins's work set in the 30's. You like a book with lots of action, a little bit on the fantasy side of the coin. This is a book for you. Oberon is Fae, which certainly doesn't mean he's perfect, and he knows that. He's trying to do the right thing, which is never easy even if you're not trying to live in a world that doesn't believe you exist. Merrill's characters are believable, even if you don't believe in what they are supposed to be. His descriptions of 1930's Chicago seem spot-on, including the gangsters and rivalries, the neighborhoods, and the social mores of the times. All that background filters in around the story; no data dumps about Capone and the like, just great storytelling. The fight scene at the end is amazing. There is nowhere else the story could have gone - and that's amazing, as well.

ß P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, June 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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