Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Garrett Files by Glen Cook

(Review written March 2000)
In its day, the Science Fiction Book Club published some great omnibus editions of authors' series. I loaned one out to a friend, who never seemed to find the time to read it, and when I got it back, I figured it was time for a re-read, anyway. The Garrett Files is one of those omnibi, containing Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts and Cold Copper Tears by Glen Cook.
Well, I like a good detective yarn, and when it's a fantasy detective yarn it just gets better. Cook has provided a series of six or seven novels about the cynical PI, Garrett, which I've really enjoyed over the years. Each one of the novels works as a stand-alone, though it does help to read them from the beginning, just to get a feel for all of the supporting players and "what has gone before." Each of the novels has the name of a metal or alloy in its title, so they're pretty easy to pick out from the rest of his books.
In Sweet Silver Blues, Garrett is hired by the father of a deceased army buddy to find the woman whom his friend has named heir to a rather sizable fortune in silver. Of course, other members of the family who stand to inherit if she's not found try to interfere, and he meets resistance from a group of ex-soldiers who helped his old buddy acquire the silver by somewhat dubious means. His search takes him back to the scene of his war experiences, where things get really interesting.
In Bitter Gold Hearts, Garrett must unravel the twisted schemes surrounding the kidnapping of a sorceress' heir. His usual style is to just keep bulling his way through all obstacles, falling for a woman or two and quaffing a few beers along the way. His tenacity is about all that saves him in the midst of treachery by conspirators in the kidnapping plot.
In Cold Copper Tears, a long forgotten acquaintance retains Garrett to find out who's been stalking her. She's gotten herself in the middle of a religious dispute over church relics, and it rapidly turns deadly. Garrett must solve the mystery, battle natural and supernatural enemies, and rescue a few damsels along the way to get to the end of this one.
There's nothing deep or meaningful about these stories, aside from a minor bit of social satire and hardnosed philosophy along the way. They're just good for a couple hours amusement on a cold steel night.

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