This is the first novel in Glen Cook's Garrett P.I. fantasy series.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Garrett is a lazy human private investigator in his 30s in the city of Tunfaire, part of the kingdom of Karenta. Tunfaire is home to just about every fantasy species imaginable - elves, dwarves, trolls, fairies, giants, etc., and every possible combination of half-breed - but humans comprise the majority, and the rulers are human.
One day, Willard Tate, a wealthy shoemaker, asks him to find the heiress of his recently deceased son Denny (an old army buddy of Garrett's), a woman he has never heard of (Garrett's old flame); Garrett refuses, as she was last known to have lived in the Cantard, a region that has been fought over in a generations-long war between Karenta and Venageta, but Willard offers him too much money to refuse.
He takes along his half-elf friend and professional assassin Morley and some hired muscle. Two of Denny's gorgeous cousins, Tinnie and Rose, invite themselves along, despite Garrett's attempts to stop them. Rose wants the fortune for herself, while Tinnie is interested in Garrett.
In the Cantard, various unsavory characters become interested when Garrett starts asking questions, including Denny's partners in crime. Despite lack of cooperation and frequent attempts on his life, Garrett discovers she stuck with her husband when he and his brother joined a nest of vampires. At enormous risk, he rescues her, as well as Tinnie and Rose Tate; for some reason, Morley insists on also taking along her husband's brother.
When they return to Tunfaire, Garrett finds out why. The brother had absconded with half the treasure of the underworld kingpin to become a vampire (he was dying). Morley arranges for the kingpin to inspect the "body" (to pay off Morley's gambling debts); when the kingpin leans in for a closer view, the vampire awakens and kills him and his bodyguards. Garrett leaves the woman with Willard Tate.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's an interesting (if not totally original) mixing of two genres.
Best scene in story:
The rescue from the vampires is the most tense. Even there, Cook interleaves some humor.
Opinion about the main character:
Garrett may not be the brightest PI ever, but he gets the job done with sheer persistence, a generous dollop of luck, and some personal integrity.