Book Review 2007 #25: Sweet Silver Blues

My twenty-fifth book of the year is the first in Glen Cook’s Garrett P.I. Series, Sweet Silver Blues


Sweet Silver Blues is Glen Cook’s attempt to meld mysteries in the style of Dashiell Hammett (eg The Maltese Falcon or The Thin Man) with a fantasy world.
Garrett, his protagonist, is a private investigator, ex-Marine, in a fantasy world of humans and other races (and crossbreeds) and magic. With leads, determination, and contacts rather than more esoteric means, Garrett carves out a niche in the city of Tun-Faire.
SSB, the first in the series, introduces us to Garrett and those he works with, and sometimes work against him in the rich world. While Garrett is an ordinary human, he works with Elves, Grolls (half Trolls), takes a job on the behalf of a clan of Gnomes, and faces off against Night People (vampires) and feral, dangerous Unicorns. And more.
There is some magic, but it takes second place to the conventions of the hardboiled detective genre. Garrett takes it on the chin, and often, and is a gray enough character that the thug that beats him up is later recruited by him as muscle. But he perseveres with wits, planning, perseverance, and a heaping of violence.
The book is a lot of fun in hewing to the genre. There are hidden motivations and agendas afoot, and while Garrett may not always understand the game that others are playing, he has a sense of honor and duty about his job that sees him through. The other characters are striking and well drawn as well. I particularly liked The Dead Man, a sometime associate of Garrett who dispenses information and advice while being housebound in a Nero Wolfe like manner.
I will definitely look to picking up the sequels, of which there are many. From what I have seen, all of the books in the series have a formulaic name of an adjective, metal, and a noun. Thus, the next books in the series are Bitter Gold Hearts, Cold Copper Tears, and so forth.