Book Review: The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly

blondeThe Sword-Edged Blonde
by Alex Bledsoe
296 pages
Published 2007
Mystery/Fantasy

Burn Me Deadly
by Alex Bledsoe
320 pages
Published 2009
Mystery/Fantasy

These two books are the first two Eddie LaCrosse novels. They’re a unique blend of Private Investigator Noir and Medieval Light Fantasy. Eddie LaCrosse is a sword-jockey for hire – he’s our Private Investigator. You can find your standard PI Noir tropes – instead of a sexy secretary, our hero’s offices lie above a tavern kept by a lady with a mysterious past. Instead of a favorite pistol or gun, LaCrosse begins with his “old Fireblade Warrior three-footer, the one with the narrow dagger hidden in the hilt.” Damsels in distress abound, but this time they’re queens and princesses and barmaids instead of widows, bored wives, or mafia dolls. It’s definitely an interesting combination of two possibly played-out themes.

In The Sword-Edged Blonde, we learn about Eddie’s past, partially through flashbacks. Sure, we could have started at the beginning, but the flashbacks really need the viewpoint of current-day Eddie to make sense. Eddie winds up in the employ of a very old friend, trying to prove the innocence of the man’s new wife, an amnesiac whose past is coming back to haunt her.

burnmedeadlyIn Burn Me Deadly, Eddie finds out there are more things on earth than he originally believed. The books are still light fantasy, in that there is very, very little magic – just enough to make Eddie question things he’d taken for granted.

If you like Noir and Fantasy, I’d say definitely pick these up. If you only like one or the other, they’re alright, and worth reading if you’ve got nothing better to do, but there are definitely better choices. I’m not a big fan of Noir myself, and I wasn’t planning on looking for the rest of the series, but they’ve hooked me despite myself. Especially when I discovered that Wake of the Bloody Angel is apparently that sexy tavernkeeper’s story!

From the back of The Sword-Edged Blonde:

It should have been a case like any other: a missing princess, a king willing to pay in gold for her return. But before he realizes it, sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse is swept up in a web of mystery and deceit involving a brutally murdered royal heir, a queen accused of an unspeakable crime, and the tragic past he thought he’d left behind.

In order to uncover the answers he seeks, Eddie must delve into the dark underbelly of society while digging deep into his own private history, drawing past and present together. Vast conspiracies, women both beautiful and deadly, and a centuries-old revenge scheme are only a few of the pieces in a lethal puzzle.

From the back of Burn Me Deadly:

Above Angelina’s Tavern in down-and-dirty Neceda you’ll find the office of Eddie LaCrosse, a freelance sword jockey who, for twenty-five gold pieces a day, will take on any task short of murder for hire. Eddie’s on his way back from a routine investigation when his horse almost runs down a half-naked blonde in serious trouble. Against his better judgment, he promises to protect the frightened young woman, only to find himself waylaid by unknown assailants and left for dead beside her mutilated body.

Eddie isn’t the kind of guy to just let something like this pass. But who killed Laura Lesperitt? Eddie’s quest for payback leads him to a tangled mystery involving a notorious crime lord, a backwoods dragon cult, royal scandals, and a duplicitous femme fatale who has trouble keeping her clothes on. As bodies pile up, attracting the unwelcome attention of the king’s guards, Eddie must use all his wits if he hopes to survive….

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