The first two Eddie LaCrosse books by Alex Bledsoe

The Sword-Edged Blonde

sword edged

In the kingdom of Arentia the reigning Queen has just been charged with murdering her son (and royal heir) in a particularly brutal way. King Phillip doesn’t want to believe that his wife is capable of such violence but is very low on options. Queen Rhiannon was found in a locked room surrounded by blood and bones after all. The king can only think of one person he trusts enough to look into this horrific crime, his old friend Eddie LaCrosse. Eddie has spent years running from a painful past and now, reluctantly, heads back to the last place he wants to be to help out his friend.

What follows is a reasonably interesting locked-room mystery. Most places will describe this story as a: ” hardboiled noir in a fantasy world”. While that is pretty close to what it is, i felt that it wasn’t as hardboiled as I was led to believe. Oh sure a lot of terrible things happen in this book and the backstory for our main character Eddie is pretty dark the horrors were really low key. Perhaps I’m just so used to everything that happens because of my reading habits. It did read very “realistic” and there was all the good things I like about Hardboiled detective fiction such as corrupt officials and detectives with very gray moralities.

That’s not to say i didn’t like it. Quite the opposite actually. I felt that the story set up the vaguely medieval fantasy setting well and the characters were all pretty well drawn. The mystery held my interest and had some good twists in there that surprised me. It also got pretty mystical and magical which did surprise me, as I wasn’t informed ahead of time that the book contained such things. I liked it though! It’s good to be surprised once in a while, there’s nothing worse than being bored by a book.

The characters are all pretty well drawn. Eddie LaCrosse, our main character, is a little flat in this first book. He is hard-edged and cynical….but only mostly in his own head. He truly cares about others and works hard to protect them and fight for the truth. His angsty back story is dark but thankfully doesn’t consume the whole story or make his too depressing to read about.

The women in this story…..are less well drawn. I felt they were mostly one-dimensional and mostly there to be tragic or sexy or tragically sexy. There are some exceptions, but not very many. My hope is that in future stories that this gets better.

Overall, I’d recommend these stories to read. They won’t set the world on fire with a mind blowing tale, but they are really fun fast reads. The main character is interesting with an interesting backstory that doesn’t drag down the plot and the mystery is interesting with some good twists.

 

Burn Me Deadly

Burn me

Eddie LaCrosse is back in a new mystery! Eddie’s on his way back from a routine investigation when his horse almost runs down a half-naked blonde in serious trouble. Against his better judgment, he promises to protect the frightened young woman, only to find himself waylaid by unknown assailants and left for dead beside her mutilated body. Who killed Laura Lesperitt? And Eddie’s awesome horse? And left him for dead beside the both of them? Eddie is out for revenge and nothing will stop him.

I liked this story better than the first one. I felt the plot had more movement to it. The first book had some pacing issues and places where I felt it got bogged down in backstory exposition. I didn’t feel that this book had that problem. It did have a few other problems but nothing that made me dislike the book and I did give it five stars on goodreads. The writing is still as crisp and fast-paced as ever and the story is interesting and fun. The story goes to some interesting places that I really enjoyed.

I like that these stories aren’t afraid to hurt the main character. A lot of stories will have a protagonist that is basically immune to being injured. Those stories always have some sort of save for the main character or deus ex machina that helps them get away unscathed from most of their troubles. Eddie gets hurt….a lot. And so do the people around him a lot of the time.

Eddie is written better here and seems to be less flat than the last book. His issues from the past have mostly resolved and he has dealt with them so there isn’t a need to dwell on them in this book. He seems happier in general and more content with his life. One reason is certainly his new girlfriend Liz who was introduced at the end of book one.

Liz is a pretty good character in her own right. She has her own job and past secrets but they never fall int o the cliche of seriously affecting the relationship with Eddie. These are both older characters (i.e- not angsty teenagers) who know that , well, life happens. And sometimes in life secrets happen that you feel you can’t tell your romantic partner about. Both Liz and Eddie have some serious secrets weighing on their mind, but luckily they come out in to the open and DO NOT affect the relationship they are working on. THANK GOD. I hate books like that, I want people in relationships to deal with things like the adults that they are.

This is a story with lots of murder, crime bosses, secret dragon cults/religions, and some torture. I really did like a lot of it and the points that dragged didn’t do so for long and nothing made me exasperated or roll my eyes. Definitely recommended.

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