30 July, 2009

Review: The Sword-Edged Blonde

The Sword-Edged Blonde (2007) is the first novel by Alex Bledsoe and at the same time the first book in his new Eddie LaCrosse Mystery series. The hardback and the paperback show two completely different covers; the first picture shows the hardback cover and the second one the paperback cover.

The Setup

Imagine a fantasy set in a Western European medieval style world complete with castles and monasteries. Let us not forget the hamlets and towns surrounded by large walls. You travel by foot, horse, cart and boat. Weapon of choice: Sword, dagger, bow, crossbow, spear and lance. Different religions, beliefs and myths are sprinkled across the land like so much dust and the political situation is best described as Kleinstaaterei.

"Kleinstaaterei is a German word, mainly used to describe the political situation in Germany and neighboring regions during the Holy Roman Empire and the German Confederation. It refers to the large number of small states and city-states, some of which were little larger than a single town; see "List of participants in the Reichstag of 1792 for a list as of that year."

Now, add a man who is a mix of private investigator, mercenary, and messenger; let us call him a "private sword jockey" and provide him with a sharp intellect and a great sense of humor. Let him be kind and extremely good at sword play, and let us not forget to add a past filled with regrets. We will name this protagonist Eddie Lacrosse and also use contemporary names like Phil, Bernie, Stan, Big Joe, and Allison for the rest of the characters. Let's also settle his office above a dockside tavern in a small town. After all this is put in place, let him come to life and tell the story of one of his adventures, from his point of view, and in plain spoken language that is colorfully modern.

My Take in Brief

I explained in the Bona Fide: Weekly Roundup - posted on 25th - of July why I read this book, but I will explain it again for all of you who don't want to read "old" stuff and of course, the pleasure is mine. No, no, I won't copy my own post, but I rearranged it telegram style for you.

- 13th of July 2009 Bona Fide forced ediFanoB to read Recommendation: Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe
- Result: ediFanoB added book to August 'to buy' list
- 20th of July: Bona Fide forced ediFanoB to read Interview: Alex Bledsoe
- Result: ediFanoB sent order to amazon.de
- 23rd of July: book arrived
- 24th & 25th of July: ediFanoB reads book
- 26th of July: Bona Fide and ediFanoB work on review.....

Alex Bledsoe is a word magician who ensorcels us in the first chapter. It doesn't take long to get into the story and connect with Eddie. Eddie, who lets us take part in his daily life, also lets us parts of his own past. From my point of view, he is a very well developed character, even though there are still a few "black holes" in his biography. But hey, it is just the first book. The story has its twists and turns, but stays believable throughout. The mystery parts are always well balanced and the relation explored between modern language and fantasy is marvelous. Read the following quotes which - I hope - will explain more then my rough descriptions:
Randomly picked tavern talk:

"Come on in, you're letting all the flies out."
"Give me something strong enough to pass the time but not so strong I fall in love"

Eddie needs to go to another town. He asks a friend who owns a cargo boat to give him passage. And the guy answers (page 12):

"Your ass is big, but it ain't so big it needs a cargo boat."

Believe it or not, in this world, children go to school (of course not all them). And what do they learn? High prose such as(p. 111):

"Because he had no manners,
She pounded him with hammers.
Because he was so rude,
She fixed his attitude.
Because he was so mean,
She made him scream and scream.
And now xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx is
broken to pieces."

Sorry, but in order to avoid spoilers, I needed to censor the name. I can't tell you more because it would give away too much of the story.

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

I'm so glad I read this book. It my extended 2009 hit list by storm. And in case you would like to read a refreshing mix of fantasy, mystery and a pinch of crime noir (in a non doorstopper size book) then I highly recommend that you read The Sword-Edged Blonde. Bona Fide is giggling in the background, whispering: "mission completed without any pressure". Two personalities enjoyed one book... And what about you, dear reader? Have you been infected with the LaCrosse virus? Leave a comment with your diagnosis...


For more information about Alex Bledsoe and his books visit Alex Bledsoe's website and/or ... From Down In Lucky Town (his blog) and/or follow AlexBledsoe on Twitter. Jeff, to whom I owe the book recommendation, recently posted his Interview: Alex Bledsoe.

Piqued Your Interest?

Then hurry up and buy your own copy - hardback [US] [UK] or paperback [US] [UK]. The next installment of Eddie LaCrosse - Burn Me Deadly - will hit the stores in hardback on both sides of the Atlantic (US) (UK) in November 2009. Sorry, no information about the availability of a paperback version yet.


Donna said...

I like your reviewing style! When I read this "Alex Bledsoe is a word magician who ensorcels us in the first chapter." makes me think I should be added this one to my list.

ediFanoB said...

Thank you so much Donna. It is difficult to find an own style. I didn't want to do the same as a lot of other reviewer do. So I used Alec's (he is the guy behind this blog) formal frame as a base and changed it a bit.And then I added my personal touch. My reviews are far beyond evenhandedness. My aim is to express whether I liked or disliked a book plus a real own written short summary plus some additional information.

ediFanoB said...

What a wonderful day. I just checked my Twitter Fox. And to my surprise and my pleasure Alex Bledsoe twittered about my review.Thank you Mr. Bledsoe. I look forward to read the next Eddie LaCrosse novel.In the meantime I will read Things That Flit - which is a short story and you can read it for free.

Of course I also want to say thank you to Patricia Altner for RT about my review.

bloggeratf said...

Very cool that Mr. Bledsoe read the review! I guess I should start using Twitter again...

I really liked the way you introduced the story. Had a very real feel to it. My book list is getting so long...

Krista said...

Man, I think you and Alec make a good team both of you have great reviews! Wonderful writing...

I agree, the way you wrote the set up was nicely done, I enjoyed it. Loved the quotes, too, especially the last one. I'll have to get this here title on my next book splurge. Wonderful review, and it's super awesome the author Tweeted about it!

All the best,

ediFanoB said...

thanks for compliments. It is not that easy. You need a good idea and you need to be in the right mood. I think this is my best review so far.
Within next week I will post my review of BURN ME DEADLY by Alex Bledsoe which is the second book of the Eddie LaCrosse series.