Fiction Reviews

Stalking the Dragon

(2009) Michael D. Resnick, Pyr, £ 12.50, pbk, 296 pp, ISBN 978-1-59102-745-4

This is the third offering in the 'John Justin Mallory Mystery A Fable of Tonight' series from the Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Michael D. Resnick. The other two are Stalking the Unicorn (1987) and Stalking the Vampire (2008) both available from Pyr. The series follows the adventures of a private investigator by the name of John Justin Mallory who investigates crime in an alternative world where magic, demons and monsters are all commonplace.

It is Valentineís day when the book starts and John Justin Mallory is in the process of closing his business and taking his friend and business partner Col. Winnifred Carruthers to dinner. When a character called Buffalo Bill Brody walks into his Manhattan office claiming that his dragon Ffi, the favourite to win the Eastminster pet show has been kidnapped.

The Eastminster pet show is the next day so Mallory has only one night to find the dragon in time for the show. Mallory is joined in his hunt for the dragon by Col. Carruthers, an older stocky broad and friends. Including Felina a cat like person known as the office cat with the appetite to match and Periwinkle a talking enchanted mirror. As the adventure continues he is joined by a zombie known as Dead End Dugan, Joe a Samurai goblin and Belle a sassy mobile phone. During the quest they get to meet the colourful characters of the alternative Manhattan, make new friends and meet old enemies such a feared demon called the Grundy.

The best thing about this book is that it reads easily and is very gripping (as well as being a stand alone novel in itís own right). This is down to the authorsí style of writing, which is crisp, clear and uncomplicated that makes the reader want to turn the pages till the end. The characters themselves are very quirky, comedic and likeable in the way that they interact with one another and unexpected situations, which there are many in this book. The plot itself is interesting with many exciting twists and turns. It really draws the reader into the world of John Justin Mallory.

There are five short appendixes at the end of the story about dragons from the point of view of the main characters as well as a good overview of the author himself and his work. This is great for those who want to find out about and read more of the authors work. I really liked this because it is a nice touch to the end of the Novel and makes both the characters and the author more than two-dimensional.

Although there is quite a bit of swearing, there is a good mix of crime (detective), fantasy and comedy. It works very well as a cross genre book and would appeal to a wider audience. Dragon lovers (such as myself) from the fantasy, horror and science fiction genres would also enjoy Stalking the Dragon.

Nadia Mook

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