What do you get when you mix together a mix of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, a pinch of black humor, Django, Snow White, magic, a sword, a coffin, beautiful and mysterious women, the Arthurian legend, a medieval world? I assume nothing really worth to read. But offer these ingredients Alex Bledsoe and you get the third adventure of sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse: Dark Jenny (2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0765327437].
And that is exactly the right point to send a big thank you over the pond to Alex Bledsoe for sending me a signed copy of Dark Jenny.
I read the 348 pages divided into 35 chapters in just three sessions.
After the The Sword-Edged Blonde (my review) and Burn Me Deadly (my review) we dive with Dark Jenny for the first time for a whole story into Eddie's past.
It is winter in Muscodia. A favorite meeting point in the town of Neceda is Angelina's Tavern which is at the same time the office of sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. On a hard winter day a messinger delivers a six feet tall coffin. The recipient is Eddie. Everybody insight the tavern is keen to know who is inside the coffin. After some preparations Eddie is willing to tell the background story of the coffin content. And that is where we go back in time with Eddie LaCrosse who is an exceptionally gifted story teller. Like people in the tavern you are immediately drawn into the story. You will loose contact to your surrounding. Fortunately there are some breaks when Eddie needs a drink. That is exactly the time you should use to go to toilet and get some refreshments. The story is significantly influenced by the arthurian legend. That is the familiar element of the story. The salt in the soup is Eddie LaCrosse. He makes the story extraordinary and unique.
A foreign kingdom - Eddie undercover - prime suspect in a murder - entangled in scandal which could be the end of the kingdom - the only way to save his live is to solve the crime.
Sounds like a simple task. But I can assure you nothing is simple as soon as Eddie LaCrosse is involved.
Alex Bledsoe is a wily fox which he shows by the inner construction of Dark Jenny. He develops the act of solving the crime in a nearly perpetual revelation of facts and information which brew in themselves new questions. That force the reader into continuous but nearly unnoticed page turning. This is supported by the interspersed use of black humor and action including outbreaks of violence. And every time when you think you are on the right track the author surprise you with a new and unexpected twist.
The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly grounded the character of Eddie LaCrosse, the tough, sometimes cynical sword jockey with a liability to gorgeous women. In Dark Jenny Eddie blossoms into a full developed charter with depth. You begin to understand why he acts how he acts. His actions are getting comprehensible. The actions of the past have an impact on our actions in future. With Dark Jenny Alex Bledsoe shows the next step of blend of sword jockey attitude with medieval fantasy atmosphere. And the world is much more than plain atmosphere.
The depiction of the obvious and hidden court life is fascinating. There are also other places well described like Angelina's Tavern. Eddie fits to the world he inhabits.
But the author does more. The more we (the author and the readers) get to know Eddie the more Alex Bledsoe tries to fathom his main character by bombarding Eddie with unexpected events, twists and turns. There are scenes where I felt emotionally touched.
The whole series is the result of the symbiotic relationship between Alex Bledsoe, Eddie LaCrosse and the world as their playground for the stories which fuel the relationship .
The end of my review is in sight. High time to separate potential readers of Dark Jenny into two groups.
All of you who never read a Eddie LaCrosse novel before, enter the next book shop and don't leave without buying either
The Sword-Edged Blonde
The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly
The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly and Dark Jenny.
I promise you pure entertainment with a great character who is the consistently evolution of his well known literary predecessors who made it into a new world full of adventures and mysteries.
As a fan of Eddie LaCrosse it is impossible that you will not enjoy the next evolutionary step in the development of Eddie. At the end of Dark Jenny you are on par with Eddie or is it Eddie on par with you - who knows. He is the kind of guy you would like to spend more time with.
Now I have to say farewell. I'm on my way to Angelina's Tavern where you can find me in the edge near the fireplace ....