Stalking the Unicorn by Mike Resnick
On a gloomy New Year’s Eve, recently bereft of wife and partner, down-and-out New York City PI John Justin Mallory is hired by Mürgenstürm, a little green elf who wants Mallory to track down a stolen unicorn. After gradually accepting that his client is not an alcohol-fueled hallucination, Mallory deftly takes on a shadow city of demons, leprechauns and gnomes even as he learns that his own future hinges on the unicorn’s recovery. The crisp dialogue and imaginative setting will have many fantasy readers wanting to revisit Manhattan’s magical side. (From Amazon.ca)
If you’ve read the Dresden series, this might sound familiar. However it’s different in so many ways. Unlike the Dresden Files, Stalking the Unicorn is much lighter and the element of a dark comedy is much more prevalent throughout the story. It was a fun enjoyable read, and John Justin Mallory does make a good protagonist to follow.
The worlds created in this book are interesting. There’s ‘normal’ Manhattan and the other Manhattan inhabited with fantastical creatures. John Justin Mallory gets sucked into the other Manhattan with a case that seems out of this world, and with an unlikely character behind it (a little elf). Now while that seems entirely unbelievable, Mallory actually takes the case because, well he’s really got nothing else to lose. He takes everything in stride, but his sense of humor is dark and he does have a comment here and there to get a chuckle out of the reader every once in a while. He has an unlikely cast of friends who help him (either out of just being nice or for their own entertainment) Felina and Eohippus are in their own right, fun to read and provide extra laughs. Mallory’s run in with the military also provide a hysterical read.
The plot was good, but yet there is little character development mentioned. It would have been nice to see Mallory develop more – he does somewhat but not as much as I had thought. The ending makes way for the other books in this series and I have no doubt they will be as fun as this one (at least, I hope so!). I’d say the only criticism I have of this book is perhaps it should have had more character development. Without much development, characters tend to be like ‘cardboard’ and although they were fun to read in this book, it just seemed as if they were lacking a soul.
Stalking the Unicorn provides a perfect blend of mystery and fantasy, adding dark comedy into the mix and the result is a fun light read. Mallory’s decision in the end opens up for more books to come. I’ll be looking forward to them and hoping they were just as fun to read as this one.
I give it a 7 out of 10.