Book review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron


Calling all lovers of contemporary fantasy detective novels: Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell is the newest addition to this very limited but beloved genre. Following in the footsteps of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, Hot Lead, Cold Iron is the first book of Marmell’s new Mick Oberon series.
The year is 1932 and the series follows the antics of Mick Oberon, a private investigator living in crime-ridden city of Chicago.

Oberon is not just a gumshoe navigating his way through the post-Capone crime den affectionately called Chicago, he is also a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the upper class of the Faerie world. After going into exile from his homeland of Sideways, he turned his pointy ears to the ground and used his ability to alter luck to assist him with making a living as a private eye.

Oberon is used to fighting supernatural crimes, but this particular one is different from his usual escapades. Oberon is forced to go to Sideways once more, when the wife of a prominent gangster hires him to investigate the kidnapping of her daughter which happened 16 years prior. He must put himself in harm’s way in more way than one to get to the bottom of this changeling plot before the case gets any colder or those who don’t want him to succeed are able to make him swim with the mermaids.

Hot Lead, Cold Iron is definitely a worthwhile read but be warned: there can be some tricky passages since it uses lots of 1930s language that isn’t commonly used anymore.

If you can get past the thirties slang, the novel is full of fun character dynamics and exciting personalities that add to the suspense of the story. It’s full of action, fighting and unusual plot twists. It’s also a nice change of pace from other similar contemporary fantasy series since the majority of them take place in modern times and this novel takes place instead during an era that is considered modern by the standards of the fantasy genre, yet still remains entirely foreign to readers today.

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