I liked both the cover and the blurb, though if I’d known the author was also an actor, I may well have not requested this one. But I’m very glad I did…
BLURB: I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:
1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential – the cops can never make me talk.
3. I don’t work for humans.
It’s nothing personal – I’m human myself. But after what happened, Humans don’t need my help. Not like every other creature who had the magic ripped out of them when the Coda came… I just want one real case. One chance to do something good. Because it’s my fault the magic is never coming back.
Imagine a place peopled by a host of magical creatures, who one day had their magic ripped away from them. What is left isn’t pretty – and in the chaos and mayhem that ensued only six years earlier, Sunder City is busy trying to put itself together again. Well… parts of it are – other parts are full of the maimed and disfigured trying to struggle from one day to the next. Fletch Phillips owes quite a lot to the classical crime noir detective Phillip Marlow, with enough personal baggage to fill a luggage carousel at an international airport. His first-person point of view bounces off the page as we learn about the characters and the tattered remains of what Sunder City has become. As for that last smile in the title – I am not going to Spoil exactly who is wearing that smile and why – but it left a lump in my throat…
As for the crime aspect – Fetch is trying to discover the whereabouts of an elderly vampire professor, who teaches at a cross-species school. His search takes him into all sorts of places around the city, and he regularly finds himself in difficult, dangerous situations. I thought the plotline concerning the mystery around this missing professor worked well and was satisfactorily concluded – and I certainly didn’t see the denouement coming before Fetch did.
Any niggles? There are some pacing issues, especially in the second half of the book. There are several important flashbacks which are gamechangers and certainly need to be included – however, there is too much repetition of the ongoing situation. And as the book wore on, Fetch’s on-going misery became an issue, which was a shame. While the crime noir convention requires the protagonist to be suffering, he tends use to ironic humour to prevent his pain turning into self pity, which Fetch didn’t do, so the narrative drive stuttered and I became a bit impatient with him. I’m hoping it’s a beginner’s mistake and I’m rather disappointed in the editing, which certainly should have caught such a fundamental error. However, it isn’t a dealbreaker and the book has still garnered a very creditable score, as it’s still an entertaining read and I’ll definitely be getting hold of the next one in the series. Highly recommended for urban fantasy fans who appreciate something different. The ebook arc copy of The Last Smile in Sunder City was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
I’ve been finding a lot of great books have struggled with pacing lately. I think it might be because they don’t expect us to remember what happened in the beginning, so they repeat a lot. Great review!
Thank you, Helen. And it’s a newbie mistake not to sufficiently trust the reader to recall what’s going on…:)
Most reviews I’ve seen of this have been really good, although for some reason its giving me a vibe similar to The Imaginary Corpse, which I didn’t like. Maybe the covers are similar…
Yes – there are a number of books with the quirky cover. There is lots about this book that is really exceptional – particularly the premise, which is why I was so cross about a technical issue that should have been fixed by his editor!
Fantastic! I was just commenting on this book on another blog that featured it in a book haul, and here I see your review which just makes me want to read it even more! Thanks for the heads up about some of its pacing issues, but on the whole it sounds good. Hopefully I’ll be starting it next week, I’m very happy to see your 8/10 rating 🙂
Oh yes – and if those pacing issues hadn’t irritated me, it was heading for a 9 or 10… I’d love to get your take on it, too:))
If, despite the quite understandable niggles you mentioned, your final evaluation came as high as 8/10, I feel inclined to give this one a spin and see for myself what it’s all about…
Thanks for sharing!!! 👍
I think the world in this one is exceptional, despite my niggles. And yes – I’m absolutely up for reading the next adventure in this series.
I really fancy this one and I’m still itching to grab a copy but I know I can’t fit it in because I’m already overloaded this month. I think this might work out as a good series though so no doubt I’ll be kicking myself later down the line.
Oh, I feel your pain! I have SO MANY books that I drool over – and yet I know I just cannot fit them in… I need a writing AND a reading clone!
Oy vey, am I this far behind?!? Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do!
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