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Review: The Sword Edged Blonde

February 3, 2014
I'll be honest, I have no clue who the big dude is.

I’ll be honest, I have no clue who the big dude is.

I picked up the first book in the Eddie Lacross series last year at JordanCon and had Alex sign it. He was really, really nice and I was excited to read his books. I already had a copy of The Hum and the Shiverwhich I had gotten after listening to it get talked about on the SF Squeecast. But, because I’m me, I hadn’t actually read it by the time I met him at the con. And, honestly, I hadn’t known that Alex would be at the con or I would have read it in preparation for possibly meeting him. But, because conventions are magical things, there was a bookshop in the dealers’ room that was happy to sell me lots of Alex’s books.
I picked up the first two Eddie Lacross books, The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly because Eddie is a noir-style detective in an epic fantasy-style world. Oh, wait.  I love noir detectives in epic fantasy worlds (Low Town anyone?  Low Town.  Go.  Get it.  I’ll wait.) And then, I put them on my shelf for very-special-books-that-are-signed-by-the-authors and got distracted, probably by some Aunt Dimity books. And then, over the holidays I saw the first book on Audible and picked it up. (I do that fairly often; buy the audiobook of something I have in hard copy, but haven’t read.)
Eddie is a middle-aged merc who has retired from the heavy lifting of fighting in other people’s wars and set himself up in a small little pit of a town where the people who really need him (or are really desperate) can find and hire him. An elderly official comes to hire him. A princess is missing and there’s a fat reward on the table if Eddie can find her. (Don’t get too attached to this story, it wraps up quickly.) Before he can get back home and deal with the aftermath he gets waylaid by the well dressed fantasy equivalent of a black ops operative with an offer he can’t refuse.
The infant crown prince of a nearby kingdom has been brutally murdered and all indications are that the queen not only murdered her son while his nurse was in the room next door, but cannibalized him as well. The queen has no memory of what happened, the king is distraught, and the kingdom is about to rip itself apart. Normally, Eddie would steer well clear of anything this explosive, but he has a very personal connection with the king that doesn’t allow him to refuse.  When he arrives, he discovers that things are even more complicated than he could have imagined.

Eddie is the kind of protagonist I can really get behind; he’s not perfect by any means, but he tries to do the right thing. He’ll find you if that’s what he’s hired to do, but then he makes his own decisions from there. He’s made mistakes and been a bastard and he owns up to that and I can relate to that. The story itself is crafted very well; you care about the characters, especially about Eddie.
The one thing I’ll caution about, although I actually liked it – the world is epic fantasy, but the language is modern and that could come across as odd. The names are things like Eddie, Mike, and Rachel. People use slang. It actually took me a little while to notice this since I was listening to the audio and the narrator was so committed that none of the modernisms came across as odd at all. I finally caught one about a third of the way through the book and suddenly realized that I’d been happily swallowing them for three hours.
So, that being said, I highly recommend it to everyone if you’re interested in adventures, noir detectives, or good stories.  This is one of those books that I think would appeal to a wide range of readers (unlike, for example, my tawdry romances). I hope you give it a shot!

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