SFF

The Last Smile in Sunder City

Orbit. (Fetch Phillips Archives, Bk. 1). Feb. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780316455824. pap. $15.99. FANTASY
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[DEBUT] Fetch Phillips, private investigator, lives during the Coda: Magic has left the world, and all magical creatures are dying as a result. The self-styled “man for hire” is a curmudgeon with deep disdain for his fellow humans, who drinks to forget all the terrible things he has seen and done. Fetch’s latest job is a routine search for a missing person that may have broader implications for the magical denizens of Sunder City. Arnold’s worldbuilding holds great promise, but his characters could use better development. Fetch is a stereotypical hardboiled detective built from well-worn tropes. Overuse of flashbacks to fill in the backstory results in more telling than showing.
VERDICT Similar to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s “Maradaine” novels, which show the seedy side of a fantasy city, this debut should drawn in fans of noir fantasy.

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