Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Gilded Latten Bones by Glen Cook
I find it really hard to believe I haven't written any reviews of earlier books in Cook's Garrett series, as I've read and enjoyed them all. Cook also has written the Black Company series, which was great. He's working on a new one, Instrumentalities of Night, which I haven't gotten too far into.
Garrett is a self-styled private investigator, in the fantasy city of Tun Faire, who has always tended to just blunder about, getting into altercations with the lawless and lawmakers alike, until he finally accomplishes his goal. Most of the stories aren't exactly locked door mysteries, where we have all the clues in the early going, and try to figure out who the culprit is. No, we are left to stagger along with Garrett as he bulls his way to some answers.
Garrett's on-again off-again romance with the inimitable redhead, Tinnie Tate, has been a fixture in the last half dozen novels, and at the end of the book before Bones they move in together. This is where we find Garrett, ensconced in semi-blissful domesticity, and utterly oblivious to the undercurrents he usually swims in around the city. His reverie is disturbed by the arrival of Belinda Contague, boss of the local underworld, who enlists him to watch over his old friend Morley Dotes, a dark elf, who has nearly been killed by person or persons unknown. Tinnie is not happy about Garrett's return to his old circle of friends, but someone is out to finish the job of murdering Morley, and Garrett is ready to knock some heads around to prevent it.
Garrett's been out of the game for a while, so he's pretty rusty, and when Morley's hiding place is uncovered, he decides the safest place to be is back at his old house on Macunado Street. The genius ratgirl, Pular Singe, has been living there and minding Garrett's business affairs for him, and Dean, his servant, is still in residence, though he's getting a bit long in the tooth. The Dead Man is also still firmly in place in his refrigerated room.
The Dead Man is a Loghyr, a member of an ancient race whose spirits do not depart immediately when they are killed, but hang around the body until the body itself completely deteriorates. They are possessed of extraordinary telepathic powers, which Garrett has used often in the past to interrogate reluctant witnesses and even unwitting allies.
Life has gone on without him while he's been dallying with Tinnie, and he finds himself not exactly in control at the old homestead. Instead of actively running around town like a bull in a china shop this time, Garrett gets to play spider in the web, waiting for his friends, informants, and others to drop by the house as he pieces together the information that allows him to finally figure out who attacked Morley, and why.
This book is like a big family reunion of all the folks Garrett has been involved with in previous books - those that are still alive, anyway. I don't think Cook is too motivated to write this little mysteries right now with other projects going on, so it's not quite as sarcastic as the usual fare. We'll have to see if he gets back to his usual form when the next one comes out.