PrintE-mail Written by Alister Davison

Mick Oberon, a private detective who walks the mean streets of 1930s Chicago, isn't your average investigator. For one thing, he carries a magic wand rather than a revolver, and the ears beneath his hat are more pointed than normal. Mick’s an Elf, a sidhe to be exact, and he's crossed from a world of Celtic legends and lore to join ours. Unfortunately, he's not the only one.

It’s a fascinating concept, and a solid foundation for yet another gripping story. Hallow Point is the second of Ari Marmell’s Mick Oberon books, following on from Hot Lead, Cold Iron, and anyone who hasn't read the first should do so before starting Hallow Point; many of the characters from the previous book return, and many situations are mentioned. Once in, it's a highly enjoyable ride; the writing takes its reader into the heart of every scene, meaning we care more about the fates of the characters rather than trying to second-guess the plot.

Oberon’s wisecracking narration is first class, bringing the character and the world to vivid life. By using “kinda” instead of “kind of”, he evokes the speech of the time, making it a read that has a definite voice. Marmell gets his readers right into the head of his protagonist, feeling his emotions as well as a genuine concern that he's in serious danger, involved too deep in a situation he, at first, would rather ignore. The story flows at a cracking pace, with near-seamless exposition, characters exchanging rapid-fire dialogue and banter; Marmell writes great fight scenes, too, and his unique mix of mythology, magic and the Mob is always gripping. Where there's potential to be gruesome, he never goes too far, letting the reader fill in the blanks, while still creating a suitable sense of unease.

There are a couple of moments where the slang feels somewhat forced, and the opening scene followed by the “this is how I got here” is starting to become a too-common trope of storytelling these days, but Hallow Point remains a great read, reinvigorating the tropes of two genres to enable them to rise above cliché status. With final revelations that imply a larger conspiracy, it seems Marmell has plenty more up his sleeve for his hero, and we can't wait to see what's in store for Mick Oberon in the future.



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