I really like a good gangster story, especially a Depression era gangster story. If it’s set in Chicago, well, that’s a plus. And while tales set in the realm of faery aren’t among those I actively seek out, I’m willing to give one a try. Especially when the author is Ari Marmell.
And when Marmell combines both of those genres, I’m in. I would like to thank Tom Green of Titan Books for the review copy. I would also like to apologize for letting this one slip through the cracks and not reviewing it sooner.
Marmell first introduced the character of Mick Oberon in the short story “The Purloined Ledger”, included in his collection Strange New Words (reviewed here).
Oberon (yes, he’s related to that Oberon) is a private detective in Chicago. Capone went to prison a year before. Now the power structure among the mob is trying to restabilize.
Oberon is asked by a mobster to do a favor for his boss’s wife. At first he turns down the job, but then he discovers his landlord and friend needs cash to keep the building. So Mick reluctantly agrees to take the job.
The woman wants him to find her daughter who disappeared about 15 or 16 years ago. And was replaced with a changeling.
Now Mick has a problem. To find the missing girl, he’s got to return to the realm he voluntarily exiled himself from. He’s about to find out that no good deed goes unpunished. And the blood ties run deep.
Marmell is at the top of his game with this one. Mick Oberon sounds like a Chicago gangster, something Oberon himself mentions at times. That’s one of the things I like about Marmell’s writing, his mastery of language, especially how he uses it to establish his character’s voices.
The plot has several twists, some you won’t see coming. This one was a lot of fun, with a villain you’ll love to hate.
I’m looking forward to the next volume in this series. Marmell drops just enough hints to make me want to know more about Oberon’s past. And he sets up some things that I’m sure will cause problems for his hero in the next volume.