Magic and Murder Among the Dwarves by Erik Bundy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are some books that tell a story and then there are other books that place the reader in the story as they watch it unfold before their eyes: Magic and Murder Among the Dwarves by Erik Bundy fits into the later group. Not only is it an interesting story, due to the author's perfection for details it placed me in the story as it unfolded. It is sort of unique in that the 'story' part is not what is emphasized in his writing (although it is told, no doubt about that) but it is the detail of the surroundings and thoughts and feelings that are emphasized to make for such an enjoyable experience. It is like the surroundings and 'people' (I use that term loosely as not all the 'people' are human) are explained so thoroughly that I was there seeing them before me, smelling the damp earth beneath my feet with a faint smell of mushrooms, and then the story happens as I 'watch' it going on.
All the characters are developed fully, even the non-human ones. Amanda, the main character, is developed realistically in the sense I had a love/hate relationship with her especially at the beginning of the book. I thought she'd be like a heroine (all nicey nice) since she was the 'star' of this book but I found her a bit self-centered with a really poor outlook on people and life in general. Perhaps it can be explained away by her 'oddsense' and having to deal with that, maybe it was having to live next to dwarves which really don't think highly of humans and it rubbed off, maybe it is the loss of her husband, and there are a few other things she has going on in her life that may contribute to this outlook of her's. Whatever the cause, she is very realistic in that she has her good points and bad, good days and bad, just like everyone I know. As the story progressed I became a little more understanding of her and other characters in the book. I can't really vouch for how realistic the dwarves are since I never met one but as far as the fantasy/paranormal characters in the story, they all were what I believed they would be like if they did exist: dwarves would live in the forest, demons would cause uneasiness and smell/use fire, and a ghost appearing would create a cold spot in a room.
The plot of the book is so interesting on all its levels. Amanda has physic abilities and is asked to help solve some crimes by both the humans and dwarves but this isn't a case of one simple crime. Things start snowballing (as they can in real life) and a simple missing person can turn into a murder investigation which in turn can lead to threats against the investigator and even attempted murder of the investigator if s/he gets too close so this one crime ends up being multiple crimes involving multiple people. It is all done with a logical flow of events and although it sounds like a lot going on, I was never lost. Actually, there is even more going on but I don't want to write any spoilers so I don't want to write any more about it than what the author already wrote in his book description but believe me, it is not confusing nor is it a bunch of random events that leaves the reader trying to make sense out of it. In fact, there are even clues along the way and I even caught on that these were the clues as to who done it and why but I just couldn't put the pieces together. Once Amanda did and she revealed what happened and why, it all made perfect sense but I still didn't see that ending coming. What a great sight!
The pace of the book is, well, this is going to need some explaining. Remember, there is a lot going on in this book so the pace is a good one but remember this author is about detail and some details need more explaining then others so some times it seems to slow down. Also, keep in mind that not everything that is happening is happening one right after another, some of this is happening simultaneously so naturally the pace picks up here which in turn makes other areas seem to drag. The best I can sum up the pace of the book is by saying it depends on how 'into' the detail/story you are. If you are not into detail that much and want only action then you may find in parts it drags (but never for long) but if you are like me and want to experience the story and smell Tristan's Old Spice cologne (among many other things) then you will find this story rich and paced nicely throughout.
I totally recommend this book to all mystery, paranormal, crime buffs.
*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.
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