It’s a hot, muggy night on the mean streets of Los Lagos, the kind of night that keeps you indoors, clicking through 200 channels of televised dreck with one hand while you hold the icebox door open with the other and dream of Saskatchewan. Inside the loosely-defined offices of the Dragon Eye Private Investigations Agency, draconic gumshoe Vern d’Wyvern and his better-looking partner, Sister Grace McCarthy, are jolted out of their video comas by a knock at the door.
She’s a timid little thing in designer rags, an uptown dye job, and a pair of legs that would do anybody’s mama proud. Her brother’s in trouble, and if Dragon Eye tops her list of available options, so is she. This job won’t pay stale beans, but business has been molasses-slow. When you’re contemplating which bodily fluid to sell next to make ends meet, you take the work you get.
It’s a cakewalk, a routine tail, until Grace catches a poison dart in the back—a dart meant for Vern. Something bigger than a wayward sibling is afoot, and with his partner’s life in the balance, Vern races against time to solve the mystery, find the shooter, and obtain the antidote.
The odds are good somebody’s going to end up a side order of dragon chow along the way.
In Greater Treasures, the latest extract from the steadily-expanding case files of DragonEye, P.I., author Karina Fabian takes her wisecracking, pun-popping private drake to a place he’s never been before, an investigation driven by the very personal threat of losing the person he loves more than anything in both his worlds, Faerie and Mundane. It reveals a new facet of Vern’s character, one that proves decisive to the story’s outcome. You can find a discussion of the deeper implications of Vern’s character arc in my previous review of Ms. Fabian’s novel, Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem. He’s much more than a smart-aleck dragon who solves magical mysteries.
Greater Treasures draws explicit inspiration from the classic Dashell Hammett detective tale, The Maltese Falcon, and fans of Vern and Grace will find all the noir-ish sly asides and witty zingers they’ve come to expect from the Dragon Eye stories, though this one takes a more serious and urgent tone as Grace hovers between life and death while Vern puzzles out the mystery by himself.
This is a novella (or novelette, depending on where you choose to draw the line), stepping smartly from beginning to end in about 14000 words, a nice length for a long lunch or a short flight, and it’s a fun read.
Don’t just take my word for it…read an excerpt from Greater Treasures here.
>>This review is based upon an electronic copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<