Thursday, January 16, 2014

Good Books - detective noir flavor

Are you in the mood for some human wave fiction - stuff where the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and navel gazing or humanity-is-awful is prohibited? Here's some good stuff by authors I know and like, whom you might not have run into yet.

If you're in the mood for the love child of Dashiel Hammett, Larry Correia, and Jim Butcher, try Pixie Noir by Cedar Sanderson.

It's got all the gritty detective feel of a detective noir film - except the PI's a pixie, who's paid to bring a lost faerie princess to court. Said princess lives in rural Alaska, rides snowmachines, is proficient with a shotgun, and has no inclination to go anywhere with a stranger...

As for the authenticity of detail and the level of humor, Cedar lived out close(ish) to Tok. This is a woman with an impish sense of humor, a motherly eye for knowing when trouble's about to get disastrous, a steady hand on the shotgun, and a deeply shared appreciation of the awesomeness of indoor plumbing.

Want more detective noir, heavily leavened with humor that's about as non-PC as you can get? Try Dave Freer's Bolg PI series. Some of you may know Dave already from his Baen work (Rats, Bats, and Vats - a darkly humorous look at cloning soldiers in the future, and culture clashes.)

Start with Bolg, PI: Away With The Faries

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds this restricts him to oddball clients. In this his first case, a wealthy fruitcake who want to dance with the fairies. Most PI's would do their best to avoid this because they know there are no fairies. Bolg would like to avoid it because he knows the fairies too well, and they're mean.

(Includes a magician who charms feminists into doing his ironing, and the PI thinks the pub's sausages are organic - after all, they probably have organs in them... Yeah, that kind of book.)

Dave Freer is another former South African who, instead of moving to the USA like Calmer Half, moved the family to Flinders Island, Tasmania, where he homesteads, dives for lobster, and hunts wallaby for dinner. He also writes YA steampunk, and helps me tease my husband by reminiscing about food from home not available elsewhere. (Calmer Half is currently counting coup by having found an intermittent source of Mrs. Ball's Chutney.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

new word, auntie?

Once upon a time, an aunt who shall remain nameless and blameless was driving a small female niece somewhere when another car cut her off. Said aunt worked in construction, and was prone to road rage. She sucked in an angry breath, and inflated with rage. "YOU...."

At which point, a high, clear voice perked up from the small child in the passenger seat whose head barely peeked above the windowsill (No, Auntie didn't believe in car seats, either.) "New word, auntie?"

...such trouble, such danger, such a bright and precocious little pitcher, ready to parrot anything her favorite Auntie may say!


"Cow, Auntie?" Somebody was puzzled.

"Yes, cow. It's a very British insult." Auntie nodded firmly, with a grave dignity.


... so now, I have learned another New Word. Well, it was actually a phrase, muttered with all the force of a swear.

"Damnyankee weather!"

As in, "When's this damnyankee weather going back north where it belongs?"

It boggles my mind that I live in a place where one expects to simply be able to wait out winter by staying home for a day or two, instead of learning to cope, or dress for it, or drive in it... and it's true, they don't need to. Snow is gone within four days for a historic cold! Culture shock all over again, I tell you. And New Word.