"Lucius Fogg: Dangerous Creatures" Book Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Muse Press
Written by Dan Wickline
2010, 141 pages, Fiction
Book released on July 10th, 2011
There are few things cooler than a good private eye story. It's why characters like Sam Spade and Mike Hammer are still talked about today. But wouldn't it be awesome if one of this hard-boiled detectives specialized in the supernatural? Author Dan Wickline takes a look at a different kind of noir tale. His is one where demons and werewolves are just as common as dames with legs that don't quit. In Deadly Creatures, the first novel in his new series featuring master of the occult, Lucius Fogg, Wickline creates a version of 1950s New York City where vampires and lycanthropes inhabit an area of downtown and sometimes the police need help solving cases that just don't make any sense to your regular beat cop.
Although the book is called Lucius Fogg: Deadly Creatures, the main character and narrator is actually Fogg's assistant Jimmy Doyle. He's a WWII vet who could go toe-to-toe with the best of the private eyes from the film noir world, but he's also got experience taking down supernatural creatures so I think he's got a leg up on them. Doyle's relationship with his employer is rocky to say the least. The two don't always see eye-to-eye, but Fogg gives him freedom to pursue his own theories and leads on cases.
Fogg himself is a pretty mysterious character. He cannot leave his brownstone or he'll die. He also only comes out at night, but he's not a vampire. The reasons for these oddities are not disclosed in this first novel, but it left me wanting to know more about Fogg.
Wickline has crafted a story here with many layers. Whenever I thought I had figured everything out, he peeled back the next layer and revealed that the tale was far from over. This is something that all great mysteries should have and Deadly Creatures has it in spades. Fogg is called in as a personal favor to local detective Sebastian "Sea Bass" Lee as some strange murders have been popping up lately. Three women have been shot and killed instantly by rookie gunmen who couldn't explain what compelled them to pull the trigger, much less purchase the gun. To the untrained eye, these are open and shut cases as each man confessed to the crime, but there's something fishy going on that connects all of them. As Fogg and Doyle dive deeper into the case, they discover demons, werewolves, and more all somehow entangled within these murders.
Deadly Creatures is released exclusively as an e-book and Wickline has written to that format's strengths. Each chapter is only a few pages long, allowing you to pick it up whenever you have a few minutes to breeze through a chapter or two in easily digestible chunks.
As an introductory novel to a new series, Lucius Fogg: Deadly Creatures takes the first step on a path that I hope includes many more adventures. There are plenty of unanswered questions about the characters, both major and minor, but not too many as to annoy the reader. The style of writing fits perfectly with the era of the 1950s and Doyle is a likeable and easily relatable character, albeit one who eats breakfast with a stone golem every so often.
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