**Copy of Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell received from Agent Sam Morgan from Jabberwocky Literary Agency in exchange for an honest review**
Despite how many times I referred to this book, both mentally and aloud, as Hot Iron, Cold Lead, it remains–actually titled Hot Lead, Cold Iron–a bloody fantastic read. Let’s just be up front and get the suspense outta the way and make it known that I enjoyed the hell out of this thing from start to finish.
As with most of the books that Sam gloriously sent me, I had no idea what this was about before I read it. So when I started it and was thrown into a fight in the middle of Chicago in 1932–a fight with magical elements, which piqued my interest ten times more if this had simply been a mobster novel set in the ’30s; I was hooked. I got roughly fifty or so pages in before I started thinking, “You know, Mick’s powers and snark reminds me a lot of Harry Dresden. And I love Harry Dresden.”
Let me remind you that I was completely unaware of what this book was about before I started reading it. As such, I was completely clueless that the book itself was advertised as “a new fantasy detective series that will appeal to fans of Rivers of London and The Dresden Files“. And here I thought I was making some grand connection.
Hey, I like to read about detectives, yeah? Haven’t ever claimed to be able to properly emulate any of them.
Regardless of whether I should have been aware at the get-go or not, once the connection was made between Mike Oberon and Harry Dresden, I have only one desire: a case where these two detectives have to come together to save Chicago. Is that too much to ask, Mr. Butcher, Mr. Marmell? I know they are set in different times, but surely Mike is still going to be kicking when he catching up to Harry’s domain. And yes, the Fae Courts work differently and whatnot…and yes, there would probably be a lot of complications between the differing mechanics between both worlds…and it might not even be totally possible, realistically…
Still, I want it to happen.
Anyway, what impressed me the most about Hot Lead, Cold Iron is how it constantly made me think of other things, yet it still stayed unique enough that I was able to separate them. Obviously, I think Mike could potentially be Harry’s long lost uncle or some such nonsense, so the parallels between Marmell’s Chicago and Butcher’s Chicago are there. The time period and the masterfully-executed accents and speech patterns reminded me of the TV show I was watching alongside reading this: Peaky Blinders. Granted, Peaky Blinders is set in Birmingham during the early 1920s, yet I still found myself being reminded of the show (and accidentally reading the characters with British accents; sorry about that). Then, I started playing Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning and I kept comparing the representation of the Fae there with the Fae Oberon is associated with. It was as if everything I was currently interested in connected with the novel I was reading.
Yet despite continually being reminding of other books, television shows and video games, I was always drawn right back into the fray with Mike. I loved this rendition of the Seelie Court and the Fae. I loved the Italian family that Mike ends up working for. And the freakin’ twists at the end…But most of all, I loved Mike. I loved his personality and his voice, the way he interacted with his readers and constantly teased us. I felt that was the strongest element within the book and the strongest pull that makes me so excited to read the next installment in the series–which, I literally just checked and books two and three are already out. And the second one deals with The Wild Hunt!?!
*goes off squeeing into the night*
Trust me, the whole “just one more chapter” idea runs away with itself with Hot Lead, Cold Iron and suddenly you’ve read 100 pages when you were supposed to read 10 and you find yourself really hating Mike when your alarm screams at you the next morning; but that hatred doesn’t last, as the one thing you’re looking forward to when crawling into bed that night (aside from, you know, the very aspect of crawling into your bed) is finding out what situation Mike got himself into next, while hoping the promises he made won’t come back to bite him in the ass…too hard.
PS: Also, some of the details had me seriously clapping my hands mentally. I always appreciate a fearlessly grotesque and imaginative writer.