My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ll be honest with you, I have only the vaguest of memory of what actually happened in the first Eddie LaCrosse novel (The Sword-Edged Blonde), and only somewhat better recall about the second (Burn Me Deadly). That’s a reflection on the amount of stuff I’ve read in that time, and is in no way a reflection on Bledsoe. I do have a very clear recollection about what both books told me about Alex Bledsoe’s talent and that I enjoyed them a lot. I’m equally certain that Dark Jenny won’t suffer from that same fading from memory/excuse to reread them. This one is gonna stay with me for awhile.
Essentially, this book is a variation of an Arthurian story–ideal king, queen rumored to be less than ideal, noble knight corps with a few rotten apples thrown in, a wizard figure, wicked half-sister, and a whole lotta intrigue–with a few unique twists of Bledsoe’s own thrown in for good measure. Not a sour note to be found here–some notes that were hard to listen to, sure, but…okay, there’s a metaphor that went awry. I was trying to say that yes, there were things that were less pleasant than others–this book goes to some dark, nasty places–but it all worked well.
We get this Arthurian tale via an extended flashback–in the middle of a nasty winter storm, with nothing else to occupy the attention of his neighbors, Eddie receives an interesting package. One so interesting, there has to be a great tale that goes along with it–which he ends up telling to the crowd at his favorite tavern (with only the tiniest of breaks to remind us that this is all in Eddie’s past). By making this all an extended flashback, Bledsoe is able to give us a slightly different version of Eddie–one on the way to being the guy we’ve seen in the last two books. It also gives him the excuse to have a great femme fatale to grab Eddie’s attention without having to write around his lovely lady.
A great, riveting fantasy noir. Can’t wait for the next one already. A decent jumping on point for those new to the series, and a great third installment for those who’ve been around for awhile.