Title: RAVEN’S EDGE
Author: J.B. Dane
Genre: urban fantasy PI mystery comedy
Name’s Bram Farrell. I’m a PI – well, used to be. Michigan doesn’t think I have the requisites for a license in this world. My experience is nearly all within the pages of a set of fantasy books written by Calista Amberson, who I thought died shortly after yanking me into the real world but hadn’t. Currently, I rank at the top of her Erase These Idiots list. The feeling is mutual.
As St. Patrick’s Day dawned, I thought the only dangerous thing on my social calendar was meeting Naomie Enright’s family. It wasn’t, though downing green dyed potato salad took courage. No, it was finding the Irish goddess Danu waiting for me at the Enright Pub’s bar. She wanted me to find an enchanted sword. Someone had nicked The Retaliator, a blade that could kill with just a scratch. Except this ancient Tuathan treasure would only go to the hand of a master swordsman.
Not many of them around in 21st century Detroit.
Except, Mack Enright, Naomie’s brother, has a friend who likes to buckle on some swash and dazzle crowds with sword play. And he's vanished, only the scents of ghoul and vampire lingering behind in his wrecked apartment. That’s never good.
And it's headed for even worse. I definitely need an edge to solve – survive – these cases!
Aspy pulled on the leash. She’d caught sight of a woman with children over in a playground area. Wanted to join them. Beelz growled, a deep rumble that always sounded to me like it originated in Hell. You gotta admit, that’s pretty deep. Aspy’s tail fell as she turned her head to look at us then slunk back; her head low.
I’d assumed he’d called her back, but the growl continued after her return. Which is when I realized it had been a mistake to bring Rissy with us to the park. I’d inadvertently put her in danger.
I glanced at her. She was deep in a trance, searching for a glimpse of Seth.
As casually as I could, I retracted Aspy’s leash then looped it tightly around the arm of the bench. “Guard Rissy,” I told the pup. Not that I expected her to be capable of doing so. Hellhound or not, she was still barely two months old. Hoped that putting someone in her protection would shore up the pup’s courage. As Beelz understood everything I said, it had been no surprise to me that Apsy seemed to, too.
In any case, she imitated Beelz’s usual nod and took an alert stance at Rissy’s feet.
I stepped a few yards away and dropped a shield over the two of them.
Beelz flashed to his Great Dane form. This did not bode well in the least.
I had the heebie-jeebies and they were running around screaming “Danger, Will Robinson!”
Or something very akin to that.
Then four elves stepped into my world. Tall, broad shouldered, buff guys dressed like they’d missed a turn when heading for Sherwood Forest. At least three of them had nasty looking swords.
Could have been worse. They could have been carrying Luger 9mm semiautomatics or a variety of its cousins.
I tossed a shield up around Beelz and myself. “Parlay?” I suggested.
“Where’s the Sword of Light?” the leader asked. A real pretty boy, high Nordic looking cheekbones, cold expression, but no taller than I am. If he worked this side of the veil, females would be snapping covert shots of him with their phones to post. Good chance of them going viral as he’d give Chris Hemsworth a run for his Asgardian nickel. Had a suspicion this elf would sneer at the idea and cause susceptible femmes to faint as a result.
“No idea,” I said. Which was true. “What’s a citizen of Svartalfheim want with a Tuathan trinket?”
“Perhaps we want it back,” the elf suggested. “Perhaps we simply wish to protect all the worlds from it.”
“Nice of you to care. But explain to me that ‘want it back’ part, would you? As far as I’ve heard, the Tuatha Dé Danann aren’t connected to the Nordic Nine Kingdoms.”
He curled his lip. “They inhabited Midgard.”
That’s Earth in case you missed any Avengers movies or didn’t study discontinued pantheons of gods at school.
“They haven’t lived here in a long time.”
“But their queen has visited quite recently.”
Wondered how he knew of Danu popping into town, however, sorting out the provenance of the sword I was supposed to find seemed worthwhile.
“She did,” I agreed. “However, she said the sword belongs to Nuadha. Considering the Tuatha hit Ireland shortly after the Flood, I think their claim predates yours.” Yeah, I’d done a bit of reading up on my latest mythic employers while waiting for Nomes to hit dreamland when we got back last night.
“We know him as Tyr, one of Oden’s men and the sword is marked with a Nordic rune to identify it.”
Well, that was both helpful and tricky. “No offense, guys, but anybody can scratch a rune on something after the fact, so ownership still belongs to the guy with the silver hand.” Not that he was supposed to be around anymore. The web told me he’d been killed, and his head cut off during the ancient battle for the green isle. Yeah, yeah. Like the web don’t lie.
“So which rune did Tyr mar the blade with?” I asked.
The three behind the front elf exchanged smirks.
“His name,” front guy said. “What better way to ensure it was always returned to him?”
“Hmph,” I snorted. “Sounds like he misplaces it a lot. Too much mead of an evening? A weakness for sticky fingered shield maidens?”
I got a glare for my trouble.
“Listen, pal. I already have a client paying me to find the thing. Once it’s recovered, you can go nose to nose with Danu over ownership. I’m just the retriever here. If you were planning to hire me as well, sorry, but it’s one client to a case. That’s the rule, and I’m already marked on this one.” To prove it, I held my left palm up. The brightness of the spot had faded but I was still lucky no one had spotted the green splotch. At least, if they had, no one had commented on it. If a human did, I planned to blame it on Enya’s plague potato salad.
“It bears Tyr’s mark,” the elf insisted.
“So do a lot of shipping cartons. He gonna claim them, too?” I snarled. “I think we’re done here. Toddle off back to dark elf country. You might suggest to the higher ups that negotiations need to be opened with the Tuatha over ownership. In any case, I work for Danu. Now amscray.”
The guys behind him had their fists wrapped around the grips of their still sheathed swords, just waiting for word to annihilate me, no doubt. Without glancing at them, he gestured a stand down order. “We’ll be in touch,” he said.
As dire warnings went, I’d heard better.
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If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
Without a doubt, it would be a combo trip to Ireland and Wales. Although I haven’t got a drop of blood from either place in my make up (3/4th of the ancestors came from Germany and the remaining 1/4th from France, all back 180 years ago) there is just something about Eire and Wales that has that mystic lure. Besides, I’ve never liked hanging out on beaches and dislike hot weather…or excessively sunny weather, for that matter. Sitting on the sand is so boring compared to exploring castles in mist laden glens!
Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?
Well, it does take place in the Spring, though March, so what better time to disappear into a contemporary mystery that includes rapier duels, a (literally) underground joust, a snarky, magic using detective hero, a touch of romance, and, of course, the hellhound sidekick that prefers to manifest as a black and tan dachshund.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs April 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on May 2.
J.B. Dane is the author of the urban fantasy PI mystery comedy series, The Raven Tales, which includes novels published by Burns and Lea Books, and a series of Indie published novellas that are prequels and also "between the books" adventures of her MC, Bram Farrell. The latest, very recently released, novel in the series is RAVEN'S EDGE. The first two volumes landed quite a few 5* reviews, and hopefully this one will, too! She also writes shorter fantasy fiction, many tales of which have appeared in anthologies, particularly her Nick Claus, North Pole Security stories.
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