- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Batdog Press
- Audible.com Release Date: August 12, 2015
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B013UP8Z62
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Red Hot Steele: Daggers & Steele, Book 1 Audiobook – Unabridged
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Basically, if you're a fan of Glen Cook's "Garret P.I." series, you should like this. It's basically Garrett Lite. Some will consider it something like a blatant rip-off (Daggers even works in Garret's eyebrow trick); I preferred to consider it an homage, since Garret is awesome and Cook doesn't write nearly fast enough for me.
And if you're a fan of the TV series "Castle", you'll recognize the plot. I won't spoil it for you but yeah, it's almost verbatim.
So with all this re-hashing of other works, why give it more than one star? Well, I like both Garret and Castle, and Berg didn't do a bad job in the homage. And lets face it, Garret is basically Cook's love for Spillane's Mike Hammer with dark elves and ogres in place of Italian Mafia. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Berg managed a decent imitation. There's lots out there that aren't decent.
So, if you like Garret, Castle, or even Mike Hammer, you may want to pick this up; it's a quick read and will remind you of why you like those other ones. I'm hoping Berg drifts a bit and allows Daggers to develop his own voice; this initial outing was entertaining enough for me to give him at least another look or two.
Hard-boiled, witty, with a touch of the sexual tension of television's "Castle" or earlier "Moonlighting," and with some of the zany comedy of "Psych," this fantasy procedural is absolutely entertaining. It would be worth the purchase price, just for the crackling banter between characters!
The story is brisk paced and engaging, with plenty of plot twists to keep the reader engaged. The addition of elves, dwarves, and so forth into the noir detective genre is great fun! The protagonist is deftly drawn, with a sense that there are more layers to him than we get in this volume -- I look forward to learning more of him. Additional characters are nicely defined, if not yet with great depth either -- there's plenty of room for them all to grow in subsequent volumes, but they're well begun.
If there's a weakness in this novel, it might be the mild lack of worldbuilding. I was occasionally drawn out of the story for a moment or two, trying to get a handle on the environment. We have a society that seems, at moments, to be almost medieval, at other times it seems more like the 1940's (but without cars or guns). That synthesis can absolutely work -- the nearest similar world I know is that of Frank Tuttle's Markhat Files novels -- I just wish we'd gotten a bit more information about it. Perhaps in upcoming volumes?
In any case, that's a tiny quibble regarding a perfectly enjoyable read. Heartily recommended.
The screwball comedy elements hit about 40% of the time. Jake Daggers also suffers from the "word vomit"; his voice isn't that great with the noir and often wanders into mawkish kitsch. "I have a mistress, and her name is Lady Justice"?? Srsly?
At $4.99 this book was about $3 overpriced. The sequel is listing at $5.99...sorry, but book #1 wasn't *that* great or amusing of a story to justify grabbing the sequel until the price comes down. You can watch multiple episodes of Castle, Elementary, or Psych in the same reading time and for about the same cost to entertainment value ratio.
The story did keep me guessing and well deserves the designation of a "mystery" tale. He also places the story in a believable "fantasy" world without making the reader stretch their imagination too much. Very good blend.
The revelation made near the end about the female protagonist brought to mind a television series that was well received (6 seasons I think) about someone who solves mysteries in a similar manner. I can't say more without having to put a spoiler alert.
I liked it and have already purchased and started reading the next in the series. Highly recommended.
The main characters are Jake Daggers and Shay Steele. Daggers is a tough, cynical homicide detective, and he initially comes across as a huge jerk, but on the plus side he’s quite funny. You eventually warm up to him as you learn his back story, and by the end of the novel he’d redeemed himself for his rude behavior. On the other side you have Shay Steele, his new half-elf, psychic partner. She’s smart and a little sassy, and the relationship between her and Daggers starts out rather rocky, to say the least.
As far as the plot is concerned, I really enjoyed it. It has tons of twists and turns, and while I didn’t suspect the murderer, in retrospect it made total sense. There’s also one final plot twist that I really didn’t see coming that adds A LOT to the story. Overall, I absolutely recommend it. If you’re a fan of fantasy or mystery books, or you like to watch TV shows like Castle or Bones, you should really enjoy this book.