Virginia Baker, author of Jack Knife: Publishers Weekly Starred Review: Raymond Chandler meets Raymond E. The frightened young woman is clearly in serious trouble. Against his better judgment, Eddie promises to protect her, only to find himself waylaid by unknown assailants and left for dead beside her mutilated body. But who killed Laura Lespertitt? Bledsoe effortlessly draws readers into his created world and manages to stay true to both fantasy and mystery traditions. Ekaterina Sedia, author of The Alchemy of Stone: Gail Pruszkowski, Romantic Times: For twenty-five gold pieces a day, plus expenses, Eddie LaCrosse will take on most any case.
But the unexpected delivery of a coffin in the dead of winter forces LaCrosse to reflect on a bygone chapter in his past…and the premeditated murder of a dream. Ruled by the noble King Marcus Drake, the island kingdom of Grand Braun is an oasis of peace and justice in an imperfect world. At least until the beautiful Queen Jennifer is accused of adultery and murder.
With time running out, and powerful nobles all too eager to pin the murder on Eddie himself, he must untangle a web of palace intrigues, buried secrets, and bewitching women before the entire kingdom erupts into civil war. I was hooked from the start, and was kept guessing to the very end. Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. She is doubtless distinct from her twin in many ways, but the book ends, and the reader never hears of it.
I had no expectations at all when I downloaded this book. I only did it because one of my groups was reading it, and a fellow member chose it, so I thought I would support him. I am glad I did. It is a mash-up of something old and worn -- a couple of things that are old and worn, actually -- with a little of the new and kitschy. It's a bit of low brow hack and slash Fantasy fun with a kooky Goddess at its heart; it's a pretty straight forward Detective Noire -- including the requisite smart mout I had no expectations at all when I downloaded this book.
It's a bit of low brow hack and slash Fantasy fun with a kooky Goddess at its heart; it's a pretty straight forward Detective Noire -- including the requisite smart mouthed detective; and it's an Urban Fantasy with more than one urban centre. It does them all with a refreshing bit of hip carelessness that manifests in the ways of Alex Bledsoe 's world. The world is pretty much exactly like ours, except they're still using swords and crossbows as weapons and travelling on horseback. By exactly like ours, I mean that the concerns of any given populace are for working infrastructure, employment and getting by; I mean they're entertainment is the scandals of the rich and famous in their case, Kings and Queens ; I mean that nightclubs and casinos and bars are just like ours, name tags for servers included; I mean that leaving your horse parked somewhere overnight will get you a ticket, warning you not to do it again or face a fine; I mean that our hero is named Eddie LaCrosse, and the girls he loves are named Janice and Liz and Cathy.
It's a clever way to approach a Fantasy world, this stripping away of all medieval pretensions, and it works wonders because it allows Bledsoe's sense of humour, which is decidedly contemporary, to come through without sounding dissonant. It fits because he makes it fit. And damn is it fun. I want to keep going.
I want more of Eddie. And that doesn't happen to me often when I stumble upon a series in the B-range of literature. Sure I'll bump against it, I may even like it well enough, but I tend to visit only once and never come back. I think this time may be different. The tales of Eddie LaCrosse are just too much fun for a one off. Great noir, fantasy story set in a fully realized fantasy setting. With as many fantasy novels as are out there, it is really nice to find a well written story that does not fit neatly in the familiar mold. This certainly fits that description.
The second novel in this series is out and I look foward to reading it. I originally started reading this as something light to read in between heavy, dark, deep books. But then I found that I just couldn't put it down and had to keep going til it was over. A brilliant blend of medieval fantasy and noir detective this book really hit the right marks for me.
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The main story, while predictable, was entertaining and gripping the whole way though. An I originally started reading this as something light to read in between heavy, dark, deep books. Another review I read mentioned inconsistencies, like a name-tag on a waitress, but they weren't mistakes but intentional anachronisms that really gave this book a sense of the familiar mixed with fantasy. These little humourous details that shouldn't exist in the setting of the world but work perfectly. Reminds me a lot of Douglas Adams more subtle humour.
The best humour is most often that which isn't pushed into the audiences face. A great book I must now get my hands on the sequel. May 21, colleen the convivial curmudgeon rated it did not like it Shelves: Ok, for most of the book I'd say it was probably a 2-star read. It wasn't great, but it was an ok read. But it had it's issues. One thing that was kinda cool was the use of Epona and Rhiannon. A fun fact that not everyone might know: Epona is the name of the view spoiler [Gaulic horse and sovereignty goddess hide spoiler ] and Rhiannon is view spoiler [often considered a Welsh cognate to her.
That, and the general premise, are the best things about the story.
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Even though this isn't the first book to do this, it does seem to be a selling point for many people. With the modern naming conventions and slang and whatnot, it read like a modern UF detective story, except there were horses instead of cars and swords instead of guns - and even that's not a given in more contemporary UF because even modern magical users seem to like their swords see Michael and Morgan in Dresden, for example. So that was issue number one. Anyway, issue number two was that the detecting style in the book seems to be of the "lucky to be in the right time and place to get the vital piece of information you need" variety as opposed to the actual hunting down clues variety.
It's a problem a lot of detective-type stories seem to have, though, so this, alone, wasn't the kiss of death.
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Well, here's where the ranting begins. Ya know, I could forgive the fact that the character's are all kinda thin, and that I never really clicked with Eddie. I mean, view spoiler [she's described as being sickly and emaciated, with pussing sores on her arms, but he's filled with inordinate lust for her anyway hide spoiler ] , 'cause, hey, view spoiler [she's a goddess so we'll write that one off hide spoiler ].
But when, towards the end, when Eddie goes into Rhiannon's cell and he view spoiler [pushes her down, holding her down, and forcing her legs open with his knees, making her fear for herself, just so he can see her tattoo? I mean, he couldn't have just fucking asked? No - let's put our hero in a creepy position where he comes off as borderline rapey.
I mean, aside from being minor foils to his getting in the cabin hide spoiler ] - what's the fucking point of that whole scene? And then there's something which is actually from the next book, but which you see in the preview section at the end of this book. Lola, his horse - the one, like, freaking healthy relationship developed in the whole first book - view spoiler [gets killed in the first fucking chapter.
And she does just die, or even get stabbed I mean - WTF?
They couldn't have just taken the horse? They have to drive her off a cliff? I mean, if you want to make sure Eddie's dead why don't you, oh, I don't know, fucking stab him in the heart I mean, yes, he has to live, obviously, 'cause he's the protagonist, but come on. It doesn't make sense for the group to kill the damned horse when they could've taken her and sold her, even if they didn't want to keep her. Maybe she was fighting them or something, I guess I so totally will not be continuing with this series.
I mean, even if I can get past some of the WTF-osity of it, it'd still only be a 2, 2. So after this, and not liking the first Tufa novel all that much, either, I think Alex Bledsoe is going into the "will never read again" pile. Aug 02, Jacob Proffitt rated it it was amazing Shelves: What a fantastic book! A friend recommended this to me because he knows I like the Garrett novels by Glen Cook —i.
And that's a good description of this book as well, though it isn't really that similar to Cook's novels in anything more than a basic tone. Eddie LaCrosse is a middle-aged sword jockey known for both his skill at arms and his intelligence oh, and discretion. If you need someone to poke into dark holes that might poke back, he's your man What a fantastic book!
If you need someone to poke into dark holes that might poke back, he's your man. And, in keeping with all hardboiled detective stories, Eddie is a fascinating blend of cynic and optimist who lets his heart lead him into trouble his head and arm will need to get him out of. This book is an establishing story that explores Eddie's past as much as his present case.
In it, you get to find out why he is who he is and why he does what he does. It's a great kickoff to the series and I highly recommend that, unlike my friend, you start with this book if you're going to take it on. Eddie's past isn't pristine, by any measure, and Bledsoe does a fantastic job giving us all the parts that make up this complex character and why his motivations play out the way they do—why he loves deeply but has avoided the ones he loves and why he still honors those friendships when they call to him in their hour of need.
The best parts of what I loved about the story are hugely spoilerific, so I'll just stick with how great the character is and how engagingly the story is presented. Feb 18, Chris rated it liked it Shelves: Something that was accessible as well, and it would be nice if it was actually good. I had recently read The Hum and the Shiver by the author and found it to be an excellent book.
It hit all the requirements I was looking for, actually. It had been recommended to me by Ala , another member of the above mentioned grou 3. It had been recommended to me by Ala , another member of the above mentioned group. So that's where I narrowed my search. I read the blurb and thought it might work. A quick, light read that had shades of Jim Butcher and the Urban Fantasy craze, as well as the more traditional fantasy fare.
What I got was different than expected. It fit all those things, but was something else. It was almost like Elmore Leonard had decided to write a fantasy story. A pure noir driven mystery with a gun sword for hire with lots of sexy women thrown into the action. With all the twists and turns I'd expect from such a marriage. So is born, Sword Noir. And it's a pretty fun ride. Dec 09, Mike the Paladin rated it really liked it Shelves: This was an odd book. I had never read anything by Bledsoe before I gather there are a couple of other books.
What he goes for here is sort of cross between sword and sorcery fantasy and hard boiled detective fiction. He does a pretty good job to. I vacillated on how high to rate this one and finally settled on 4 stars.
The Sword-Edged Blonde: An Eddie LaCrosse Novel by Alex Bledsoe
While it can run hot and cold and at times the "suspension of reality" bit runs awfully close to silliness, it's over all a good read. Picture Sam Spade or Philip Marlow with a sword peeking over his shoulder instead of a revolver in a shoulder holster. I have no idea what the title had to do with the story This was a fun and quick read, quite different from most other fantasy that I've come across. It's basically a combination of traditional fantasy elements kings and queens and swords and stuff like that with an urban fantasy type writing style and paranormal detective type plot.
If that sounds awkward It wasn't perfect; there were some weird little inconsistencies, and some story points that were a little too happily-ever-after for me, not to mention a lot of r This was a fun and quick read, quite different from most other fantasy that I've come across. It wasn't perfect; there were some weird little inconsistencies, and some story points that were a little too happily-ever-after for me, not to mention a lot of right-place-at-the-right-time involved in solving the case, but despite all of that it was still a fun ride.
I just went with it, didn't dwell too much on the little things, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
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Three and a half stars, and I'll definitely be continuing on in the series. View all 5 comments. Well, I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to listen to this. All I knew was that it was written by Alex Bledsoe. I should have known that would be enough. It's a strange fusion of hard-edged fantasy noir. It's a fantasy setting featuring a private investigator with a noble past he's trying to forget about. There were allusions to fairy and fae, and a "goddess" with what could be considered magic, but essentially this was a detective story. A very good detective story.
I'm going to listen Well, I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to listen to this. I'm going to listen to more of them. View all 8 comments. Imagine a fantasy set in a Western European medieval style world complete with castles and monasteries. Let us not forget the hamlets and towns surrounded by large walls.
You travel by foot, horse, cart and boat. Sword, dagger, bow, crossbow, spear and lance. Different religions, beliefs and myths are sprinkled across the land like so much dust and the political situation is best described as Kleinstaaterei Read my full Review: Apr 20, Mona rated it really liked it Shelves: Oct 01, Maria V. Snyder rated it liked it.
I met Alex this past weekend at Context 25 - he was the author guest of honor. We chatted quite a bit and he's a nice guy with a sense of humor so I figured I'd read his first book. I'm 3 chapters and so far, I'm interested: I finished this a couple nights ago. The plot was intriguing and kept me reading. The main character was likable and not one of those perfect guys - in fact he did some really stupid things and was rescued a lot. This was Alex's debut novel and it had all the problems of a I met Alex this past weekend at Context 25 - he was the author guest of honor.
This was Alex's debut novel and it had all the problems of a first timer, but I think I notice those things more because I mentor writing students. One thing that stood out was the names of the characters and some of the wording. I fully understand that not all fantasy novels are set in Medieval Europe as mine are also not set in ancient times and I use more modern vocabulary. But for some reason King Phil and Princess Janet just stood out.
The main character is Eddie and there's another man called Mike.
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And he mentions getting grounded. I guess the names seemed too common - but that's a minor nitpick. All the other world building details were well drawn. Overall, a solid first book and fun read. Apr 25, Chip rated it did not like it Shelves: This book was a complete waste of time, although at least I borrowed it from the library so it wasn't also a waste of money. It's basically a mediocre at best noir-ish detective story with a fantasy overlay slapped on. And by slapped on, I mean, changing the word "gun" to "sword" but not reconsidering or reworking anything of substance.
The writing was lazy, the plotting was lazy, and the characterization nearly nonexistent. Every few pages someth What the hell? Every few pages something happened that made no sense whatsoever, except that it was easy for the author. Honestly, I'm somewhat surprised this was even published, much less that people actually seem to like it.
Dan Brown is better than this. Aug 09, Guy rated it it was ok Shelves: Serviceable but nowhere near brilliant swords and a little sorcery noir. To sum it up: Bledsoe seems to be very much in the Dan Brown tradition -- generatin Serviceable but nowhere near brilliant swords and a little sorcery noir. Bledsoe seems to be very much in the Dan Brown tradition -- generating formulaic, derivative, and inexpertly written books that are nevertheless page-turners. Jan 05, Deborah Blake rated it it was amazing. This is one of the best books I've ever read. To begin with, the premise is insanely clever: It should be, but author Alex Bledsoe pulls it off, with a sharp sense of humor thrown in as a bonus.
I can't wait for the next one. Aug 14, Melissa McShane rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm glad this was recommended to me, because I don't think I'd have picked it up on my own. Eddie LaCrosse is an adventurer, a former mercenary, and even more former Baron in one of the many kingdoms littering the unnamed continent. Now he's a private eye in the tradition of Glen Cook 's Garrett novels--not so much a detective as an enforcer, someone you go to to recover property, find missing persons, and basically solve delicate problems.
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A summons from his old best friend Phil King Philip to I'm glad this was recommended to me, because I don't think I'd have picked it up on my own. A summons from his old best friend Phil King Philip to the plebes is something Eddie can't ignore, even though returning home means facing an old tragedy, but Phil has a big problem. His beloved wife and queen seems to have murdered their infant child, and Phil needs Eddie to prove it's not true. Although the setting is a typical fantasy world, everyone has names like Phil and Cathy and Janet, and surprisingly, it works.
The combination of real-world names and attitudes with pseudo-medieval technology makes the setting interesting, and things like Eddie and Phil's friendship which closely resembles that of old friends sitting on the couch to watch football and drink beer don't seem as out-of-place as you'd think. Bledsoe's narrative weaves between Eddie's current investigation and his memories of things that have happened in the twenty-five years since he left home, and while I can't say it's a smooth ride, it's not hopelessly confusing.
In fact, I think some of the problem is that Bledsoe doesn't seem to have trusted himself when it came to concealing, and then revealing, the truth behind Eddie's voluntary exile. The reveal is very good--excellent, even--but there are a lot of extra twists to the story that were simply overkill. There are also places where Eddie refers to things--or fails to refer to things--so obliquely that it looks like something essential got left out of the story, instead of being tantalizing or foreshadowing future events.
However, Bledsoe never plays the game of deliberately concealing information that the reader should know, to get a big "A-HA! He's also told by a goddess that Cathy is almost the woman he should be with, but not exactly. At the end of the book, he's in a bar when in walks a woman who is the spitting image of Cathy, who turns out to be her identical twin sister Liz. I have two problems, at this point.
The first is that Eddie asks if she has a sister, and she says Cathy's her twin, she disappeared years ago and did he know her. Technically, he just shakes his head, but same diff. Granted, if he'd told Liz that Cathy was dead, it would overwhelm the ending--but that's a meta-story thing. The only reason for him not to tell Liz the truth is that it would interfere with the romantic relationship they don't even have yet, but that Eddie clearly anticipates the goddess's words are repeated here. The other thing that bugs me is that with Liz being identical to Cathy, though presumably without any of Cathy's baggage from being raped more than once and having body issues, this situation is like a magic do-over for Eddie.
He screwed up when Cathy wanted to be with him, he regrets it--and bingo! Combine that with the whole "Cathy isn't the right one" thing, and it's like Cathy never even existed. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Even a small change like Liz having a strong resemblance to her sister without being her twin would have made a difference. For the sake of the next book, and because I'm betting Bledsoe had no ill intentions here, I can pretend it didn't happen.
I just wish I didn't have to. I look forward to reading the sequel. Mar 31, Kat Hooper rated it really liked it Shelves: I picked up Alex Bledsoe's The Sword-Edged Blonde because it had just been released on audiobook and I was looking for something short, different, and fun. The Sword-Edged Blonde was exactly what I needed. Eddie LaCrosse used to be a rich kid, but a tragic event drove him away from his past life and now he's a loner.
He works as a detective, and he's really good at it. So, his old best friend, King Phil, hires him to solve a murder. Eddie soon realizes that the mystery is somehow tied up with his own past, so he finds himself confronting his most unpleasant memories as he tries to solve the strange case. Eddie LaCrosse makes a great hero. He's a nobleman's son, so he's educated and has manners, he worked as a mercenary after he ran away from home, so he's an accomplished fighter, and now he's an aging rough-edged noir-style detective who doesn't take crap from anyone.
But as the mystery and his past unfold, we find out that he's certainly not invulnerable. The setting of The Sword-Edged Blonde was unusual. The lack of electricity, cars, and guns suggests an early time, but the character names Janet, Stephanie, Kathy seem out of place, as do words like "debutante" and model names for swords The Edgemaster Series 3.
This type of quirkiness is fine with me -- I needed a break from the usual medieval-style fantasy.