Tuesday, January 01, 2008
The Sword-edged Blonde, by Alex Bledsoe
The Sword-edged Blonde
Night Shade Books: 2007
Private Investigator Eddie LaCrosse takes a case: Find the missing princess. Her father, the king, will pay good gold to ensure that her honor is preserved, no matter that she may well have run off with the hoodlums herself. The case is simple, but the case is only the beginning. Eddie LaCrosse finds himself pulled from the easy gold and into a case which stretches into his own past, a past which Eddie has avoided for nearly twenty years.
The Sword-edged Blonde is a cross-genre novel, mixing high fantasy with the hardboiled detective novel. Eddie LaCrosse would find himself very comfortable in the worlds of Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade, except for the fact that Eddie swings a Fireblade Warrior three foot sword rather than carrying a gun. The world-weary attitude, wise-cracking, extreme confidence, and deeply personal moral code, Eddie LaCrosse has it all.
This is what makes The Sword-edged Blonde such a blast to read. Alex Bledsoe gives the reader something not commonly found in fantasy (Glen Cook's Garret PI notwithstanding): that blend of fantasy and mystery. The Sword-edged Blonde just happens to be set in a low technology, medieval setting. It does not have to be. The setting gives an air of freshness to the story, though, and combined with Bledsoe's sure hand at creating the character and the mystery The Sword-edged Blonde is a winner! If a book can be feisty, this one is.
Alex Bledsoe is able to draw the reader in with that gruff "hardboiled" dialog and characterization of Eddie LaCrosse, but he keeps the reader gripped with the mix of the investigation and LaCrosse's backstory. The backstory is absolutely essential to the mystery.
Bottom line, The Sword-edged Blonde works and earned a place on my Best of 2007 list. No kidding, it's the real deal.
On his website, Alex Bledsoe mentions that there is another Eddie LaCrosse novel tentatively scheduled for 2008. If Bledsoe can hold the quality from The Sword-edged Blonde he should have a series which will well deserve popularity and sales.
Reading copy provided courtesy of Night Shade Books.
Alex Bledsoe's website has an Eddie LaCrosse short story, "Things That Flit". I have not read this story, but it is worth pointing out because the novel is just that damn good that I need to read more Eddie LaCrosse.