Mark Louis Baumgart
- Publié sur Amazon.com
***Warning. This is a review for the casual reader. Most details will be redundant for long time fans.***
This is the first original novel, or novel of any kind based on the NBC television network show "Grimm". "Grimm" is a show that is a cross between urban fantasy and the police procedural, and the star of this show is the cop Nick Burkhardt, who in the first episode, finds out that he is a legendary Grimm, a hereditary hero whose purpose is to track down, and destroy the wesen, or the werepeople who live amongst us mundanes, sometimes, but not always, as a predatory presence. He realized his purpose late in life after his aunt dies, and ends up having to figure out the rules of his new role all by himself. During the first season he had to keep his secret from his partner Hank Griffin, while having as an unofficial partner, the reformed wesen, the Blutbad (werewolf) Monroe. During the second season, Griffin is in on the secret, as is his girlfriend Juliette. Really though, you don't even need much of this to read "The Icy Touch", but it's nice to know.
As the novel opens, Captain Sean Renard, a wesen Hexenbeist himself, is assigning Burkhardt and Griffin a case involving the nasty death of a Drang-zorn, or the badger wesen Buddy Clements, who along with his wife had disappeared several days before. Buddy has turned up roasted and burned to death in one of his wesen badger holes. It turns out that the only thing that could have done this is a daemonfeuer, or dragon wesen, and one has blown into town as an enforcer for a foreign drug ring from France called La Caresse Glacée, or The Icy Touch, and it is comprised mostly of wesens. Once thought defunct, The Icy Touch is now back with a vengeance, taking on all other cartels, and laying them to waste. Oh, and they have an age-old grudge against all Grimms, with a particular hatred for all of those related to Burkhardt.
They now have their sites on taking over Portland, along with the rest of the world, with the elimination of Burkhardt as part of the deal. And they are going to do this through their charismatic leader, who is also abetted in his megalomaniacal quest by using of the fabled Coins of Zakynthos. These coins give the user great persuasive power, but while doing so, they will also slowly destroy them. This will end well for nobody.
The television show "Grimm" was never, at its heart, a show about kings, queens, and fairy dust, and its constant sidebars into such things usually leave me uninvolved, as I'm not really interested in an urban fantasy version of a nighttime soap. For me, the fun of "Grimm" is the gritty cop show parts, the parts in which Burkhardt learns about his heritage, while still being a modern cop, as he investigates the weird wesen inspired crimes, all while trying to keep things on the downlow.
So, while Griffin, Juliette, and Renard are all in on Burkhardt's secret in this novel, his adventure in this novel is still, with some historical flashbacks, a gritty, street level, crime story, mixed with Shirley's juggling of Burkhardt's private life. True, the story could have been more graphic in parts for some, but it wasn't needed, so what Shirley serves up is a quick, and exciting, pulp crime story, full of twists, turns, and last minute escapes. "The Icy Touch" by John Shirley brings back memories of those fast-paced fifties and sixties paperback crime thrillers, with some supernatural elements. This storyline could easily have gone over several episodes on the television show itself. Yes, sometimes the plot twists and escapes will delve too much towards the deaux ex machina, but Shirley is skilled enough to pull such things off.
The doings with The Icy Touch also drags Monroe and his Fuchbau girlfriend Rosalee into things, and for long-time fans, we go into detail as why Monroe had his conversion into a vegan Blutbad. So, Monroe fans will get a real healthy dose of him in this book.
On the other hand, due to the nature of this book, you should have watched a few episodes so that you will get a more detailed image of what the characters look like, and how the weres change, as Shirley is often rather vague when it comes to dealing with such details. Let's face it though, purists will always find something to complain about, and will always look for a reason to hate these media-tie ins, but if you like the show, and you're not interested in nitpicking irreverent details, you should like this novel
On the positive side, this is a stand-alone novel as nothing is continued into to the next novel in the series.
For this site I have also reviewed these urban fantasy books for this site that also have some crime elements:
Blood Of The Pride #1: Blood of the Pride by Sheryl Nantus.
Blood Of The Pride #2: Claws Bared (Blood of the Pride) by Sheryl Nantus.
Blood Of The Pride #3: Family Pride (Blood of the Pride) by Sheryl Nantus.
Crime Spells edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Loren L. Coleman.
Genevieve "Evie" Scelan #1: Spiral Hunt (Evie Scelan) by Margaret Ronald.
Genevieve "Evie" Scelan #2: Wild Hunt by Margaret Ronald.
Necropolis by Tim Waggoner.