*I received a free copy of this book via Voracious Readers Only and with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Nothing is at it seems…
Vampires don’t exist, do they? That’s a question Private Detective Tony Mandolin finds himself pondering as the evidence piles up pointing to just that in a case involving a string of dead redheads and the usual dose of weirdness San Francisco has to offer. To complicate things, Mandolin doesn’t appreciate the perception of those around him that he’s become the latest golden boy of Fog City’s crime boss. None of that gets into his cross-dressing friend Frankie… Ahh, just another day in San Francisco.
The blurb, the cover, the first half of the plot, are all pure classic detective noir with this first-in-a-series from Robert Lee Beers. We are introduced to characters named things like Toots and Fats, plus a supporting cast of gangsters, broads, hookers and molls. Tony Mandolin himself is definitely from the Sam Spade / Philip Marlowe mould of hardboiled detectives with a soft spot for the dames who do them wrong.
Fellow fans of urban fantasy can easily list another modern detective that fits this mould, and sure enough Tony himself notes that there is a wizard guy in Chicago who advertises his services in the Yellow Pages. And sure enough, as the story progresses we gradually notice that things aren’t quite adding up to the world that we know, and that vampires may actually be real after all… along with the pixies, the fae, and other things that go bump in the night and crave human food and/or booze (and/or blood and body parts).
The plot is well-constructed and is mostly well-paced too, although after an epic buildup I found the ending somewhat anticlimactic. The showdown with the main villain is quite quick, almost rushed, and the resolution is a little unsatisfying. However, this is mainly because parts of the plot are (necessarily) left unresolved to lead on to bigger-picture mysteries later in the series.
Fans of The Dresden Files will enjoy Beers’ style here and the snarky humour, as will any who enjoy a bit of urban-magic detective noir.
I’m Tony Mandolin and I handle the weird ones.
– Robert Lee Beers, A Slight Case of Death
Find more from Robert Lee Beers, check out his kickstarter and get his books all at his website here!