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Burn Me Deadly: An Eddie LaCrosse Novel by Alex Bledsoe
Cover Artist: Jean-Sébastien Rossbach
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765322210
Date: 09 November 2009 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

A detective noir set in a fantasy quasi-Middle Ages setting, Alex Bledsoe's Burn me Deadly, a sequel to the The Sword-Edged Blonde continues the saga of sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. He and his horse Lola almost trample a fleeing woman. Naked and frightened, she begs for his help, and Eddie agrees to take her to the nearest town. However, someone knocks him unconscious and he wakes briefly somewhere to find himself bound and the woman dangling in manacles from the ceiling. He passes out and wakes again when he, the woman, and his horse are thrown off a cliff.

When he next wakes he is in a hospital run by moon priestesses and learns he was found with a dead woman and horse. A week has passed and Eddie remains weak, but he is determined to discover who killed the woman and left him for dead. The authorities are also interested.

Some readers will revel in Eddie's smart-alecky nature and dogged determination to solve the crime. His relationships with others, especially his girlfriend Liz, provide him with allies in his search. Money and the involvement of the local mob boss sway others and keeps them neutral.

Full of local color, humor, and enough danger to satisfy most readers, Eddie follows what little he knows. A cult with rich followers may hold the answer. The dissolute heir to the throne may be a member. The cult's beliefs in old gods add complications. Hard-nosed Eddie dismisses these as superstition.

A secret from Eddie's past begins to affect his relationship with Liz. Then, when he sees her talking with a mysterious old man, he wonders whether she might betray him. No one has any idea who the man is or where to find him.

The villains rival any James Bond has faced, although no science or magic plays a part. Vicious torture and murders complicate the search. Are they related or merely distractions?

Dedicated fantasy fans will either love or hate this blending of genres. The modern attitudes and slang may grate on some. Bledsoe includes paranormal elements to satisfy fantasy lovers. Coincidence plays a role, but less so than in the Sword-Edged Blonde. He leaves some loose ends hanging, but also provides the leads for another adventure. Bledsoe includes some information from the first novel, but not everything. Each novel stands by itself, but reading them in sequence will enrich the reader's understanding.

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