Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Live and Let Fly.

Karina Fabian has done some novels that could only be qualified as interesting. She's written theology, Catholic science fiction, rescue nuns, zombie exterminators, and those are just the ones that we'e taken a brief look at here.

And then there's Vern, the Dragon Private investigator.

Welcome to Los Lagos, Colorado, home of the Gap; in this case, the Gap is an inter-dimensional hole in time and space, and we can be grateful that this one isn't set in Cardiff.  The Gap has made Los Lagos home of plenty of interesting species from the Faerie dimension, a realm that is quite Catholic, and the original home to Vern, who was a dragon of some repute even before he had an encounter with a knight named George.

Now, banished to our world by the Duke of Pebbles-on-Tweed, Vern has made his living as a PI, along with his sidekick, the Vatican Mage Sister Grace.

Like every good PI story from Dashel Hammet to Jim Butcher, the story starts small, and spirals out of control quickly. What starts as the search for a missing ring after an assault, quickly turns into a murder mystery, with a kidnapping for a side dish, and it turns into race to stop the end of the world, dun dun dunnnnnnnn.....

But how do you stop a killer that leaves no trace? Not even a scent a dragon can follow?

Overall, the story is fun. There are some nice shots at Hollywood along the way(let's start with the chapter titles "Murky but Present Dangers," or "Gapraker").  And it includes the best take on Disney animatronics that I've seen since Peter David's Psi-Man series. The chapter titles were something else ("Seven Habits of Highly Defective Henchmen.")  In fact, the humor that works best is when Vern narrates events in term of cliche (see: excerpts here).  The satirical elements are possibly the funniest parts of the novel. I'm not sure if one of the villains was supposed to resemble Dilbert's Pointy-Haired-Boss, but it works.

Also along for the ride is the Bureau of Interdimensional Law Enforcement. ("BILE?" Vern thinks. "There's a name that must have been made in committee.")  With some entertaining parodies of James Bond thrown in, as well as one character who should be played by Marvel's Agent Coulson.

And, seriously, who can argue with a book where Shiva is a war correspondent?  Or where the Vatican has its own SpecOps team, giving a whole new meaning to the term "church militant"? It's right up there with John Ringo's Princess of Wands novel, that was based in the real world, with a little more strangeness attached.

There is also a wonderful sequence of negotiating with the kidnappers. It's only two pages long, but it's truly entertaining.

Live and Let Fly has some good solid action sequences. Like the attack of the killer animatronics, or a scene with an airship that was a cross between Final Fantasy VI and a John Nance novel.

And then, there's the line "I wanted the Holy Hand Grenades on standby in case all Hell did break loose."

Yeah, this was fun.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great review, and not just because you liked the book. I got a lot of great tweets from it and my daughter, Amber, burst out laughing when she saw the "Final Fantasy" comment.

    Glad you enjoyed it!


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