Sirgrus Blackmane Demihuman Gumshoe and The Dark-Elf is a hard boiled PI mystery with a fantasy setting. Due out 27th May 2021 from BHC Press, it's 220 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats at release. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
I've been a fan of gritty noir books (and films) since forever. I revisit many of my perennial favorites often. My pantheon includes Hammett, Cain, Chandler, and Hughes, and this fantasy twist on the hardboiled PI archetype kept me engaged from the first chapter.
With the codicil that the main protagonist isn't a human (he's a dwarf) and the setting isn't earth (it's alternate-earth-slightly post WW1 prohibition era USA New York(ish)), this could be a period piece straight out of the 1940s pulps.
There are some grim/heavy themes: abduction, prostitution, corruption, sexual abuse, drug abuse, PTSD, and war (to name a few). Sirgrus is trying to keep his head above water (and attached to his neck) pay the bills and keep his trauma from the war from overwhelming him. Despite those facts, there really is quite a lot of humor here, and I found myself smiling often whilst reading.
The dialogue is very well done and true to the spirit of the period. The characters were well fleshed out and believable and although I had a pretty good grasp on where the author was going into the denouement and resolution, there were a few twists I didn't see coming at all. Well played, Mr Schlichter, well played.
I sincerely hope this wasn't a one-off standalone novel and I will be eagerly looking forward to future adventures.
This would be a good one for fans of hard boiled detective fiction, period fantasy, and PI fiction. Really well done. Four stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.