To the Point Reviews: Hot Lead, Cold Iron (and sequels) by Ari Marmell

K. Noel Moore

New Member
Dec 22, 2018
What is it about?: Chicago in the year 1930 already isn’t exactly the safest place to live, but throw in warring factions of ancient fae, blood magic plots that stretch back decades and span continents, artifacts of unfathomable power turning up in the Field Museum, and/or the dead (repeatedly) coming back to life, and it’s a downright nightmare. The Mick Oberon Jobs series is -- as the title would imply -- about Mick Oberon, a perpetually snarky P.I. who's here to protect his city from things that go bump in the night...if he can successfully hide the fact that he, himself, is one of those things.
My review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron is brilliant, plain and simple, and the latest release, In Truth and Claw, is the best since the series began. This brilliance comes from the cast of characters: Mick himself (a crotchety Fae detective who lives on milk and is probably a hoarder), his repeat client Bianca Ottatti (a tough-as-nails mob wife), Bianca's delightfully sweary husband Fino, a werewolf cop, an angst-ridden changeling, and an ongoing villain who's a veritable force of nature trapped in the body of a septuagenerian. The only thing that keeps books #2 and #3 from reaching the same level of enjoyability as their predecessor and successor is the absence of most of these characters; Marmell brings in new characters (a succubus femme fatale, a formidable Irish-American street gang, an undead Egyptian pharaoh because why not), but they don't feel quite as fleshed out, and their banter with Mick sometimes falls flat.
From one to ten, I give....
The quality of writing: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The pace: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The plot(s): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The characters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The enjoyability factor: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (would be lower if not for the abundant period-accurate slang)
Overall: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Would I read more books like this one?: I will read anything and everything in this genre I can get my hands on.
Who do I recommend this book for?: Avid readers of "demon noir", gangster buffs, European folklore nerds, and just about anyone who likes their fantasy with a strong narrative voice and a hefty dose of humor.

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