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Dread Brass Shadows: A Garrett, P.I. Novel Kindle Edition
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- Publication Date : May 1, 1990
- File Size : 596 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 304 pages
- Language: : English
- Publisher : Ace (May 1, 1990)
- ASIN : B0049MPVJU
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #194,349 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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First of all, I had some expectations going into this book, based on my previous experience with the series. Pretty much all of the previous books have a couple of common elements: Morley Dotes and Saucerhead Tharpe helping Garrett out, Garrett using a couple of little tricks (obtained from either a witch or a priest with magical abilities) to get out of jams, etc. I really expected more of the same here, and instead, Glen Cook mixed things up a bit. So that was great. (Sometimes the little "tricks" made Garrett's job too easy, especially when we weren't told in advance what they were capable of.) And I liked how Garrett went through a series of emotions as Morley and Saucerhead were absent for a rather long period of time. First he was annoyed, and then it escalated into worry, there was rationalization, etc. I was never sure exactly where Garrett's usual backups (i.e., Morley and Saucerhead) were, so ALL of Garrett's speculations seemed reasonable to me. I was happy to be kept guessing. And I was happy with the end result (which I won't spoil here, but it was totally in character).
Setting, characterization, and writing style were all about average for the series. Once again, the story takes place in TunFaire, which is your basic pseudo-medieval European/Renaissance type of city (standard fantasy setting, in other words), where humans live alongside non-humans (elves, dwarves, ogres, trolls, and some of Glen Cook's own invention) as well as "breeds," which are mixes of two or more types of sentient being. There's humor in this book, mostly in one-liners (Garrett's attempts at humor sometimes aren't appreciated by those he's speaking to, however). The prose is terse and does not contain excessive description, which appreciate. (Probably one reason why Glen Cook is one of my favorite authors -- we don't hear the details of every feast or every woman's dress or hairstyle, which is stuff I tend not to care about, anyway.) The pace is quick, as always.
I will note that Garrett spends more time than usual commenting on the physical characteristics of women in this book. It's fairly sexist, in all honesty, but hardboiled detective fiction often is (and now you're forewarned).
Garrett is our POV character in this book, as he is in the previous volumes. He doesn't change a lot over the course of the book, but he does make a decision towards the end that goes against his usual way of doing things. He's starting to assert something of a moral agency in this book, inserting himself into a situation he would have tried to avoid, earlier in the series. For awhile, I had thought this series would be more of the "continuing adventures" type, where Garrett would have a new case every book but stay pretty much the same. Now, I'm not so sure about that. I think there could be an overall story arc for the series in the works, and I'm excited to see what that is.
Sometimes, I can't tell why the books in this series receive the titles they do. However, "Dread Brass Shadows" was easy to figure out. The main source of conflict in the book is the rumored existence of a book of shadows, containing magic that allows a person to assume the shape/appearance of someone else. The magic in this book is written on (hammered into?) sheets of brass. And multiple people are looking for it: Garrett, a witch, Garrett's client, a would-be sorcerer, a dwarf, and underworld kingpin Chodo Contague, just to name a few. I love the way Glen Cook plays the villains against each other. Not every book-seeker has the same motives and they're not all evenly-matched against each other. Balancing multiple competing parties is something Glen Cook is pretty good at, though; I've seen it in some of the Black Company and Dread Empire books, as well as in his Instrumentalities of the Night Series.
In the end, what I appreciate most are the unexpected elements and the push-pull among multiple individuals competing to gain hold of the same item. I like the development of a potential overarching series arc and some of the new and unusual alliances Garrett makes, in order to achieve his goals. I'm pleased that the main story doesn't seem repetitive when compared to previous volumes. (I'm not as thrilled on the descriptions of women's bodies, which I think are a little overdone.)
For me, they are. The parallels with one of my favorite series, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe, are fun, though Garrett for me isn't as good a character as Archie Goodwin.
This one's a good read, shaking up the power structure of TunFaire a little and changing some relationships of the characters.
This book starts out with his main girlfriend being attacked in the street for no obvious reason, but investigation soon turns up another redhead with a similar build that others are interested in because of a book she is supposed to have. For various reasons Garret has to largely make do without the assistance of his normal "co-investigators", but acquires a new female one that I particularly enjoyed.