Monday, November 16, 2009
Burn Me Deadly, by Alex Bledsoe
Burn Me Deadly
Burn Me Deadly opens with a damsel in distress and a suspicious Eddie LaCrosse just the man to save her, which looks great on paper, but does not go so well for either the damsel or Eddie. The damsel mentions “Lumina” and is murdered. Eddie is beaten and thrown off a cliff. So is his horse. Eddie lives, the horse does not. Near death, Eddie is rescued by the kindness of a stranger who returns him to town for healing.
This second Eddie LaCrosse novel from Alex Bledsoe is set approximately two years after the events of The Sword-Edged Blonde. Where the first novel was an active case for Eddie, to use a cliché, this time it is personal. Like any hard-boiled dick, Eddie has a thing for the dames. He’s loyal to his woman, that damsel in distress will get him every time. Twice if she’s dead.
Burn My Deadly is a quest of revenge and mystery. The revenge part is obvious, but the mystery is that Eddie doesn’t know who was behind the murder of Laura Lesperitt (the damsel) or who to go after. But he’s got ideas. Some “dragon cult”, for starters. With each passing chapter the scope of what is really going on grows and the stakes increase accordingly. What begins as a relatively simple story of revenge becomes much bigger than that.
That doesn’t address what readers really want to know here. “That’s great, Joe, but is it any good?” Hell yeah, it’s good. Fans of The Sword-Edged Blonde will be delighted with Burn Me Deadly. The action is just as good, the story is bigger, and the mystery stays fresh. Like Glen Cook before him, Alex Bledsoe deftly works a hard-boiled detective story in a traditional fantasy setting and he does so with style and verve. Eddie cracks wise, he gets into scrapes, his life is continually in danger, and through it all he retains his moral center and gruff edge. He’s the hero you want on your side, but it’s better if you don’t need him. It’s also better if you can pay. Reading about Eddie LaCrosse is a delightful experience if you like your delight with a bit of snark.
The bottom line is that there is not a lot of hard-boiled fantasy / mystery blends out there and if that sounds at all appealing you should check this out. If it doesn’t sound at all appealing…you should check this out.
Reading copy provided courtesy of Tor.
The Sword-Edged Blonde