Dead Man in a Ditch

Orbit. Sept. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780316455862. pap. $16.99. FANTASY
Humans killed the magic of Sunder City six years ago, and the fire and warmth along with it. Far-from-perfect-human Fetch Phillips is a private investigator who only works for nonhumans since they’re the ones who really need him. Fetch led the human army to the Opus where they destroyed the magic. Elves lost their youth, warlocks no longer cast spells, and faeries dried up into statues. Through his detective work, he now tries to atone for his role in their loss. When an unusual death occurs, the police enlist Fetch’s help to find the murderer. And not just any killer—one who used a magical fireball as a murder weapon. Does that mean there’s still magic left in the world? He doesn’t know, but he’ll risk his life to find out. Fetch follows clues through the world of wizards, ogres, faeries, dwarves, vampires, and werecats, always hoping to find the mystical spark that will return enchantment to a dark and dingy world.
VERDICT Arnold’s (The Last Smile in Sunder City) universe has everything, including the angst of being human. The perfect story for adult fantasy fans—a tough PI and a murder mystery wrapped around the mysticism of Hogwarts, sprinkled with faerie dust.

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