Glen Cook, Gilded Lateen Bones (Ace, 2010)

Gilded Lateen Bones is the latest in Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series and like the latest in Simon R. Green's Nightside series, A Hard Day's Knight, which features John Taylor as a P.I., this is the finest novel in the series to date. Though it would help if you've read the previous novels in this long-running series, Cook has done a more than decent job of making sure a newcomer to the series knows what he or she needs to know for back story without info dumping that material into the story.

Garrett (no first name) is a freelance private investigator who during the course of the series to date shares his living space with a dead, immovable four hundred pound being who is effectively immortal -- at least, 'til his body very slowly decays. As the series evolves, the house will gain additional residents, such as Dean Creech, who will become Garrett's housekeeper and cook, and all will add to the story in meaningful ways. Even The Goddamned Parrot, Garrett's name for a foul-mouthed bird that an associate sticks him with, actually makes sense as a character as the series unfolds.

Gilded Lateen Bones (without giving too much away, but I need to do a spoiler of sorts here which is needed, so go away now if you hate spoilers!) shakes up the series by having Garrett now living away from his house with the redhead named Tinnie Tate, his on and off lover, with curves to die for and a temper to match. He has also given up being a P.I. sometime between the events of the previous novel and when this novel starts.

So he is out of shape and out of circulation. Is Garrett a happy boy? I'd say no.

All that will end shortly for reasons I will not say here. It will involve the near death of a good friend, lots of sexy females who will tempt Garrett (no surprise there), the usual tangled politics of TunFaire, lots of violence and general mayhem, Garrett not getting enough sleep, and Garrett fucking someone other than his girlfriend (again there's no surprise there).

What is surprising is that Garrett will spend much of Gilded Lateen Bones considering what his life has been, what he wants in a girl friend, and where indeed his life choices has led him so far. Sounds boring to you? It isn't. Indeed, Garrett isn't the only one who has changed since the previous novel, Cruel Zinc Melodies, as a number of characters have indeed dramatically changed in the apparently several years that have passed in the meantime. (Side-note... Garrett was in his early thirties when the series started and I peg his age now as at least a decade older, perhaps more.) The city of TunFaire and its political situation have evolved as well. Not necessarily for the better. At least as far Garrett is concerned.

I will not discuss this novel in any more detail. Suffice it to say was a very satisfying read from a string of truly good novels that I read over the past fortnight as the weather here has been rainy, windy, and cold -- perfect for staying in and getting reading done. I look forward to the next novel in this series and wholeheartedly recommend it to you irregardless of whether you've read the series to date or not. If you haven't read the series to date, do go back and read the rest in order.

As I noted in my omnibus review of the entire series, the easiest way to read the novels in order is by getting the SFBC omnibuses (The Garrett Files [collects Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, and Cold Copper Tears; 2003]; Garrett, P.I. (collects Old Tin Sorrows, Dread Brass Shadows, and Red Iron Nights; 2003], Garrett Investigates [collects Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Petty Pewter Gods, and Faded Steel Heat; 2004], and Garrett On The Case [collects Angry Lead Skies and Whispering Nickel Idols; 2005]).

I am now reading The Black Company, the first in that long-running series of the same name, and I must say that Cook is one brilliant writer! And The Black Company series runs to some ten volumes so far. Oh yummmmmmmm!


[Cat Eldridge]