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on 11 April 2016
This was a surprise. I wasn't sure I was going to like it, especially as I don't much care for the old-time gangster talk. However, any irritation it may have caused was completely balanced out by the narrator's own irritation with the need to use it. He's a likeable character and the story's a good'un too. I would certainly read another by this author.
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As far as urban fantasy goes, the concept for this new series of magical detectives couldn’t be better.
Take the spiritual home of hardboiled pulp fiction – a hard-assed Chicago of the prohibition period, oozing with booze-dealing Italian gangsters and numbnuts thugs driving flivvers – and introduce that time-honoured reluctant hero, a jaded, hard-bitten private eye with a sharp line in snappy dialogue and a withering distaste for worldly weakness. Plonk him in a scruffy downtown basement office with a sympathetic landlord. Then give him a solid mystery to solve involving the missing daughter of a serious mobster.
Oh. And let’s make the hero old-school fae nobility while we’re at it, shall we?

Mick Oberon is a genuine prince of the Seelie court with some serious innate abilities and no small amount of righteous ire set behind them. Oberon has a complicated back story which we learn a little about in this tale, but the majority of this story revolves around the missing girl…
…and her replacement, a changeling left in her stead some 16 years ago. Oberon follows the trail which zigzags between two realities, bumping heads with bad guys in both places and needing all of his sleuthing skills and supernatural abilities to stay vaguely ahead of the game.
‘Hot Lead’ freely mixes a metric tonne of 1930s gangster slang stacked alongside the ancient Gaelic names of the fae with dozens of references to folklore and myth, mixed in alongside genuine historical characters and events (see for more details on character and plot developments).
Inventive, imaginative and enjoyable, ‘Hot Lead’ grabbed my attention with a superb action sequence at the start and romped along to the satisfying conclusion. Marmell has an accessible, free flowing style which delivers laugh-out-loud one-liners with aplomb, but is also capable of genuinely tender emotional moments. He’s also introduced a raft of intriguing characters like the policeman who happens to be a werewolf, and Queen Mab/Mob herself, the baddest gal of the Unseelie court. Some of her henchmen are truly unpleasant, and the lady herself shares several scary characteristics with The Corinthian.

Plenty to get your teeth into here, and much promise for the future too.
The sequel is due in 2015. Hurry up.

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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 May 2014
Hot Lead, Cold Iron started brilliantly. We’re thrown in at the deep end with some great action and the discovery of Mick Oberon and his not-so-human tendencies. In actual fact, Oberon is Fae living in a human world, avoiding machines which give him headaches and cold iron which burns him. The rest of this novel did not disappoint and made for great entertainment.

Oberon was definitely the star in Hot Lead, Cold Iron. I loved his character. From his wit to his bad moods, his disgust at the not-so-warm milk to his sinister and then his less than sinister attitude, he was a fantastic protagonist. I really enjoyed the way Oberon was narrating this story to us – explaining the things us humans might not understand and responding to the judgments he knows we’re giving to the Fae world. He’s an unforgettable character.

Other highlights for me in this book included the world-building of the Chicago Otherworld upon Oberon’s return to the place he couldn’t wait to leave. The development of the Otherworld was perfect – Marmell provided a brilliant build-up of the supernatural world, one which was complex yet easy to follow and a mesmerising place in the book.

Maybe in my mind I was expecting a more spectacular course of events but I was still very entertained and really impressed with this start to the series. Throughout the books journey to find the missing girl and discover her kidnapper, the creativity and excellent use of 30s language combined with the eccentric personality of Oberon makes this an awesome, fun-filled novel not to be missed.


*Book gifted for honest review.
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on 12 September 2014
So, the king of the fairies is a player for the Chicago P.D. and is a pretty stroppy guy at that. From the set off with ‘Hot Lead’… you are pretty much thrown in the deep end and it keeps up right the way through. Marmell is a very well regarded writer to me through his work at Wizards of the coast and has proven himself top of the game in crime/fantasy crossover here too. Mick Oberon is one of the best written characters I’ve had the pleasure to discover in recent reading, from his dialect to mood swings to his utter contempt for how things done he is a brilliantly plotted out piece of work, add into this the descriptive efforts in creating both the Chicago of this world and also the world of the Fae which Oberon comes from are top class and provide a perfect backdrop to a tale as equally as skilfully set in place. Brilliant, plain and simple.
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on 23 June 2015
This is an urban fantasy set in the era of Prohibition: an age of speak-easies; hard-boiled private eyes and fairies. The latter might not be standard fare for a typical novel set in that period, but the author crafts a world where gangsters and gargoyles co-exist, if at times not all that peacefully. Overall the book is well crafted with an interesting main character displaying the same world-weary cynicism that would befit a Bogart hunting for an elusive falcon. Seelie politics thrown into the mix for an added bonus. Recommended.
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As a huge reader of Urban Fantasy, I always love it when I get a genre mix such as adding a touch of crime with the supernatural and whilst there’s been quite a few who’ve done it well before, I like it when someone steps away from the norm and to be honest that’s what Ari has done in this outing.

Set in the 30’s its full of action, gangsters and of course action that keeps it moving, however the major problem for me was that I had trouble associating with the principle character and his abilities that felt pretty useless. As a reader I do like the potential for this world and the events that can occur within however for a first outing it felt a little lacking for me.
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on 17 July 2014
Mick Oberon is a hard-boiled gumshoe working in Chicago, in the later days of Prohibition. Oh and he's also that guy from "ill-met by moonlight fair Titania".

Yes, that's right, he's the former king of faerie, and now by choice working as a Chicago PI. The concept grabbed me just because I like this sort of mash-up, and Ari Marmell does it well. All the characters are well-drawn. Oberon himself gets disadvantages (how about feeling physically ill if you travel by car?) to offset his magic. The plot actually makes sense, even the twist (and you won't see that coming).

I could write more, but that would risk spoilers.
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on 23 July 2016
Interesting and Grown-Up Urban Fantasy
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on 10 October 2014
whens the next one?
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