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NO Quarter Perfect Paperback – November 21, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Summer seems an unlikely season for an elegy, but NO Quarter, by Robert Asprin (DarkStar, $15.95), serves as a final tribute to the sci-fi/fantasy/mystery novelist who passed away May 22, 2008, leaving his book in the expert hands of co-writers Eric Del Carlo and Teresa Patterson.

And what a bang-up farewell he's given us! Set in the French Quarter of pre-Katrina New Orleans, this memory-haunted mystery follows the troubled life of Sunshine, a murdered waitress, and the friends devastated by her death. Bone, Sunshine's ex-husband, is so grieved that he bails from his table-waiting job to find her killer. Set almost entirely in French Quarter barrooms (except for the occasional brawl on Bourbon Street) the book introduces us to a splendid panoply of characters known only by their nicknames. Besides the pool-playing, movie- obsessed Bone, we meet Maestro, a fencing expert with a dangerous past (rumored to be based on Asprin himself); Rose, a tarot reader and voodoo practitioner; Jugger, a dim but huge ex-con; as well as Dunk, Bear, Werewolf, Firecracker, and Boogie Joe. Such is the strength of Asprin's writing that he makes us care about every single one of these troubled souls, right down to the feral street kids who would knife anyone just to break up the boredom of their day.

Fascinating though these folks are, the true star of the novel is the French Quarter itself: historical, romantic, and dangerous. Asprin's sensuous descriptions bring the neighborhood alive with scents of hot asphalt, stale beer, sugared beignets, and bloated corpses. Temperance types might want to forgo its booze-soaked pages, but the only shortcoming in this love song to a cursed and blessed city is that (unlike New Orleans itself) it finally ends." --Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine, 2010 Summer issue, #115 --Mystery Scene Magazine

"Del Carlo and Asprin clearly understand the bar scene. And they definitely get the neighborhood. Theirs is not a vision of wrought-iron balconies scented with jasmine. This late-night Quarter has its stomping boots on." --Diana Pinckley, New Orleans Times-Pickayune, Sunday, April 11, 2010 --New Orleans Times-Pickayune

"Okay, so when I received this book from the friendly folks at DarkStar Books, I wasn't sure what to expect. I certainly didn't think it was going to be a crazy whirl-wind tale of murder and intrigue in New Orleans. ... when Sunshine is knifed with an ice pick in a dark alley, Maestro and Bone set out to find the killer. This leads them on a wild adventure in which they discover a lot about themselves, about each other and they find just how low the underside of the French Quarter really hangs ... so, I say, go ahead and check out NO Quarter. I think you'll enjoy it."--Julia Scott-Douglas, Book News and Reviews --Book News and Reviews

From the Publisher

A note from Tom Knowles, editor of DarkStar Books to the fans of Robert Asprin:

NO Quarter isn't exactly Bob Asprin's last book--there are others forthcoming from outlines and partials--but it is the last book he completed, wrote through from beginning to end. It's also unique, for two reasons:

First, Bob's friends and those fans who got to meet him at conventions and filks will easily recognize his only somewhat fictionalized self portrait in the character of the mysterious, pool-playing fencing master and wise man/wise guy known as Maestro. Bob often put his personal philosophy into the mouths of his lead character, but for NO Quarter and Maestro, he anted up a bit of his soul.

Second, NO Quarter is a suspense/dark fantasy novel that is a crossover/spin-off from a fantasy series--something that has not, to this editor's knowledge, ever been accomplished before by any author. Although the fantasy and horror elements (voodoo, tarot readings and precognition, ghosts) are less in evidence, it is set in the same milieu as Bob's Dragons Luck and Dragons Wild novels. Fans of that series will already be familiar with NO Quarter's two protagonists, Maestro and Bone, as well as other denizens of NO Quarter's dangerous, haunted, and clannish French Quarter, from their minor roles in the strange life of Griffen McCandles, the Dragon gambler.

NO Quarter is remarkable in other ways as well.

Bob planned this novel with Eric Del Carlo after they met and became friends in the French Quarter. They alternated chapters, Bob writing Maestro's viewpoint, Eric writing Bone's. What shines through both writers' prose is a love for the old French Quarter that existed before Katrina smashed in to alter it forever--a love that neither excuses nor attempts to conceal that city-within-a-city's dangers and disappointments.

Maestro's chapters are classic Asprin, this because Maestro is the classic Asprin hero ... just written a bit darker, more reminiscent of his Thieves World than his Myth Adventures. The inimitable Asprin humor is there throughout, along with the tension between student and mentor, and the journey of self-discovery that both of them take during the course of a friendship. Bone's chapters, written in Eric's distinctive voice, offer an acerbic contrast that works to complement and highlight Asprin's characterization of Maestro. The two characters, as did the two writers, work well together and push each other in new directions.

When Bill Fawcett offered the book to DarkStar, Bob and Eric had brought it to a third-draft level. Because both authors had other commitments, Bob had suggested that long-time friend and author Teresa Patterson, who was familiar with the French Quarter and its culture, give the book its final polish to smooth out its rough spots. We signed the contract ... and then, not long after, Robert Asprin--my friend and a friend to just about everyone who met him--closed his eyes for the last time.

Despite that sad occurance, we pushed the project on to completion. Eric and Teresa's edits and refinements resulted in a novel that I believe is a fitting tribute to our friend, Bob Asprin. DarkStar published it in a quality trade paperback edition in November 2009.

Because the major chain stores are deadly serious about categories and placement, you'll likely find NO Quarter in the mystery section instead of the SF/F section beside Bob's other books--but make no mistake, it's an Asprin book, and in this editor's opinion, one of his finest works.

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: DarkStar Books; 1st edition (November 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981986609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981986609
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,752,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I wanted to write since I was in grade school. I discovered SF and Fantasy in Jr. High, and was forever hooked. But just reading SF wasn't enough. In High School I started writing for and editing a fan-fiction magazine called Vulstar...and the writing bug stuck. Since then I have written both long and short fiction and non-fiction and collaborated in a number of genres including Fantasy, Military, History, and Mystery.
When not writing I work as a balloon sculptor and show horse trainer. In the past I worked as a movie extra and managed a jousting and horseback combat show at a local renaissance fair. My other interests include scuba diving, Tai Chi, medieval re-enactment, archery, and being a mom to cats and horses.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rhys M. Blavier on January 2, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback
It was with mixed feelings that I picked up 'No Quarter', the last book completed by Robert Asprin before his untimely death last May, at age 61. I have been a fan of Asprin's work since 1977, when I discovered 'The Cold Cash War'. He quickly became one of the few authors for whom I would search for something new every time I went into a bookstore. So, reading 'No Quarter' would be more than simply reading a new book by a favored author; it would also be my "good-bye" to him. The question, at that point, was would this be his valedictory, like Spencer Tracy in 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?', or his ultimate embarrassment, like Peter Sellers in 'The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu'. Let me say right here that this is a book which he can be proud of.

As with most of Asprin's work over the last decade or so, 'No Quarter' was a collaborative writing effort. Eric Del Carlo and Teresa Patterson were his "partners in crime", as it were. I feel that is an appropriate way to describe their partnership because, unlike anything else written by Aspirin (that I know of), 'No Quarter' has no fantasy or science fiction elements in it. Set in New Orleans's famous French Quarter (Asprin's home for many, many years), it is a straight murder mystery (as a friend of mine put it "a hard-boiled mystery served over Easy"). Now, more books than I would care to count are set in New Orleans, both fiction and non-fiction, including "insider" books written, like this one, by residents of the French Quarter. With this specific work, however, I think that Asprin gave us a literary first.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Bolesny on January 17, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback
Everyone has heard that crime is high in New Orleans (as in most large cities), but this story paints a view of the French Quarter which the tourists often don't see - the interconnectedness of the place and how the locals always look out for other locals. Interestingly, this book was written before the murder of a bartender in January, 2009 that rocked the city. As in NO Quarter, the locals banded together. The suspected perpetrators of that murder were turned in to police - by their mothers! NO Quarter catches the multi-layered feelings that exist in the French Quarter and the deep friendships that develop there. Robert Asprin had lived in the Quarter for many years when the book was written, so while it's not the humor that his readers had come to expect, it's a bird's eye view of the French Quarter that is hard to see from the outside.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve Banister on April 2, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback
I have never read a Robert Asprin work before but I do frequent the French Quarter a couple of times a year, which was my main reason for picking the book up. I was drawn immediately into the story and was unable to let go until the blood was being cleaned up. The characters were so real I could swear I have seen them and quite possibly have. I know when I'm there in June I will make it a point to locate the side streets and establishments that played major roles in making this voo doo inspired, murder mystery a great read. One scene in particular, when the action took on an escape route, the trek was so vivid I have marked it in the book and plan on following the same path while reading it again. Nothing like actually being there even if it is after the fact and, of course, fictional. I understand Mr. Asprin is no longer with us and for that, I am truly sorry. When I was done reading I still wanted more. The only thing missing was my favorite off Bourbon Street haunt, the Jimani Lounge on Chartres Street. I have already recommended this book to my fellow New Orleans frequenters and would highly recommend it to anyone else whether familiar with the Quarter or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff P. Slatton on November 19, 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
One of Asprin's best works ever. A departure from his usual fantasy fiction, he delves into the grime that is New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, I love New Orleans and visit every chance I get, but this excellently written detective story really gets down to the seedy side of the Quarter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been reading Robert Aspirin book ever since 'Bug Wars'. First of all, this is not a sci-fi/fantasy book like the 'Myth' or 'Griffen McCandles' series. It's a modern crime drama.

'No Quarter' takes place, like most of his books at the end of his life in New Orleans. And is the story of guy and his friend trying to solve the murder of his ex-wife. There is a little voodoo splashed in there but doesn't feature prominently. I don't know if I buy the whole 'everyone knows your name and we watch out for each other'. It is apparent that the authors have spent a lot of time in New Orleans, and it sounds like at least one of them was a waiter.

The book is written with alternating chapters featuring the two main characters, Bone and Maestro. They are not your usual one dimensional character. They are highly affected individuals. Bone with his movie ratings at the end of each chapter, while Maestro is a fencing instructor / ex hit-man. The first third is really really slow. They are a number of twisted and turns that make it an enjoyable read.

I'd give the book 9 out of 10.
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