Book Review: The Malaise Falchion

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The Malaise Falchion by Paul Barrett


“There are a hundred thousand stories in Mage City. The best ones start with a woman. Or a fight. Mine starts with a fight about a woman.”

Thus begins the tale of legendary Dwarven Warrior turned disgraced drunken Dwarven Private Investigator Snazdaggin Kundarik (Spade to his friends, when he can find any). Once a proud warrior, Spade found disgrace during the Demon War and now spends his days searching for a desk to sleep on, a bottle of grog to drink, and a simple case to pay the rent.

But nothing is ever simple in Mage City, and when a gorgeous elf walks in with legs that go all the way down to the floor, Spade finds himself embroiled in a case that is much, much more than he bargained for. Intrigue, powerful magic, family drama, and a quest for a world-rending magical weapon are far outside Spade’s usual case work, but that’s right where he’s found himself now.

With a hangover the size of a red dragon, Spade and his faithful lizardperson sidekick Crizlyk will battle forces far above their weight class just to stay alive, all to answer one burning question –

Can he stay alive long enough to save the world, get paid, and buy another bottle of grog?

The Malaise Falchion is a gritty fantasy noir parody blend of Dungeons & Dragons with the classic pulp mysteries of Dashiell Hammett.



As a parody detective noir set in a fantasy world, this one isn’t the full mouse. Instead it works better was a straight-up fantasy detective series with humor laced throughout. Not quite the Garrett, PI series by Glen Cook – but then few things are – but could be put on the same shelf.

A good addition to the fantasy detective genre; high fantasy is way behind urban fantasy in providing us those that solve the crime with a flask of whiskey in a pocket, a wand in the holster, and a flutter as the client.

All the tropes you want from legwork, to brawls. Helpful office assistant, to old war buddy along for the ride. Too much drinking, to flying dragons. Race relations to class structure issues. All in one delightful ball.

Not the absolute best of the genre (Glenn Cook taking first place) but in the top five.

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