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Garrett, P.I. (2003)

de Glen Cook

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Sèrie: Garrett P.I. (omnibus 4-6)

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1832115,636 (4.17)2
Garrett is a private investigator who always gets his man-or elf, troll, or sorcerer. In the magical city of TunFaire, he's the first name in paranormal detection. Garrett Takes the Case collects three of his adventures in one volume. In Old Tin Sorrows, Garrett is hired to figure out if someone is poisoning a wealthy, retired General, but quickly finds that the man's employees are dying off at a far faster rate; in Dread Brass Shadows, a trio of redheads plunge Garrett straight into the chase for The Book of Shadows, a sorceror's tome holding secrets no mortal was ever meant to master; and in Red Iron Nights, Garrett is hired to track down a serial killer who's preying on the high born young ladies of TunFaire.… (més)
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Another solid entry in the "Garret, P.I" series by Glen Cook, this series is fast become a reading "comfort food" for me. Everything is cooked just right: the plot is not overdone, the characters well-rounded, the setting original but complementary.

These three books broaden the world of cynical P.I Garret in the fantasy city of Tunfaire. Crosses will be doubled, plots will be foiled, and dames will be... well, you know.

There are two things I really love about the Garrett series, and Cook continues them here. Firstly, he doesn't just ape the lingo or leitmotifs of noir; this is a genuine fusion. The influx of jaded young veterans in an uneasy post or inter-war setting is often missed with neo-noir, and it's such an important part of the genre's genesis.

In transplanting these ideas to a fantasy world, the importance becomes more obvious. In addition to this, Cook confronts inconvenient truths often elided in fantasy. A melting pot of species and cultures results in vicious racism and tribalism. Gangs of cutpurses and "kings of thieves" are mobsters, pure and simple. And, of course, aristocracy and a world where serfdom is breaking down is rife with corruption.

The second thing I love - and he does more of it in these books than the first three - is how, rather than adding new locations, countries etc to his fantasy world, Cook chooses to expand by offering more depth. Hitherto unseen facets are exposed; new characters, businesses and suburbs of bustling Tunfaire.

In this respect, the Garrett series is more like a tv show or another serial than a traditional fantasy, but in my opinion it's all the stronger for it. Rather than wan simulacrums of extant cities and cultures (fantasy or actual both) that pop up like dioramas when plot and or characters require them, instead we get a world that is denser, richer, and unnoticed except when looking - surely a more realistic way of expanding horizons?

This layering means that Garrett, his supporting cast, and the city itself grow richer, more interesting, with each novel - a great example is Cook's no-nonsense insertion of a gay couple; we've known these characters from the first book, and there's no song and dance about their homosexuality, nor is it a critical plot point. It's just extra detail that helps render these novels more three-dimensional.

Six books in, this series remains interesting and gives the impression there's plenty more left in the tank. Solid gold holiday reading, that's for sure. ( )
  patrickgarson | Nov 3, 2012 |
This is the second omnibus of the Garrett series. I loved the first one, so I was glad I had this one waiting.

* ***** Old Tin Sorrows.Garrett's old commanding officer is slowly dying, and his old sergeant thinks he's being poisoned, so the sergeant asks Garrett to investigate.

This is a classic whodunit, set in a fantasy world. General Stantnor lives in a household made up of his daughter, a cook, and a whole bunch of old soldiers. And there's a mysterious lady in white seen only by Garrett. The problem is with the General's will: it's set up as a tontine, with everyone getting equal shares, but if someone dies or leaves, their share is divided among the others.

Should be fairly straightforward, right? Especially since the household has been dwindling, and the pace increases once Garrett arrives. Not in Garrett's world.

With Garrett away from the house for most of the book, we don't see much of the Dead Man, or Dean, but it's such a nice twisty murder mystery, that it's hard to mind--particularly when I've got more of the series waiting for me.

* ****½ Dread Brass Shadows.

Garrett's sometime girlfriend Tinnie gets stabbed, and suddenly Garrett is up to his ears in redheads. It doesn't take Garrett long to realize once the second redhead shows up that Tinnie's attack was a case of mistaken identity. Still, neither Garrett nor Tinnie's family intends to let that be an excuse.

Turns out the redheads... and everyone else... are after a book of spells, each page of which can turn the wielder into someone else. And everybody Garrett turns to for help ends up wanting the book themselves.

This story is hectic and fast-paced, a nice contrast from the darker Old Tin Sorrows. It was a bit more personal for Garrett, which was nice, but it also tended to get a bit confusing following the myriad witches, wizards, gangsters, and dwarves after the book.

* **** Red Iron Nights.

This time, Garrett's helping out the Watch, tracking down a serial killer who's targeting young wealthy women who are taking a walk on the wild side--hanging out in the bad part of town. At the same time, he's got a job watching a wacko conspiracy theorist who's just been released from prison. Not an exciting job, but it pays well for not much work, and the Dead Man's insisting.

Garrett and his pals track down the killer and put him away... but it doesn't stop the killing. And then there are those weird green butterflies coming out of his mouth. Making things a little more tense, the daughter of the gangster boss is missing, and Garrett's told to find her as well.

This was my least favorite of the Garrett books. The serial killer mystery was interesting, but it had only the barest connection with the surveillance job. The gangster's daughter plot tied in a little better, but mostly it felt like three separate stories loosely woven together.

I'm not sure if I liked the last ones a little less because I've read so many of these so close together, or if they're just not quite as good as their predecessors. Regardless, I've ordered the next omnibus. ( )
  Darla | Nov 18, 2008 |
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Garrett is a private investigator who always gets his man-or elf, troll, or sorcerer. In the magical city of TunFaire, he's the first name in paranormal detection. Garrett Takes the Case collects three of his adventures in one volume. In Old Tin Sorrows, Garrett is hired to figure out if someone is poisoning a wealthy, retired General, but quickly finds that the man's employees are dying off at a far faster rate; in Dread Brass Shadows, a trio of redheads plunge Garrett straight into the chase for The Book of Shadows, a sorceror's tome holding secrets no mortal was ever meant to master; and in Red Iron Nights, Garrett is hired to track down a serial killer who's preying on the high born young ladies of TunFaire.

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