Saturday 26 May 2018

Good Guys - Steven Brust

Good Guys
Steven Brust
ISBN 9780765396372

eISBN 9780765396389

I have been a fan of Brust's writing since High School. He is one of the few contemporary fiction authors that I read 30-35 years ago that I still read today. I have read nearly all his novels, and many of them more than once. But this one has a very different feel. This book is classified as Urban Fantasy. And in some ways, it feels like a Vlad novel set in a different world and environment. It is an intriguing read and adds nicely into the canon of Brust's works. This book is dedicated to his coauthor of the Incrementalists series, Skyler White. And Brust shares with us where the idea came from for this work he states:
"I never know where an idea is going to come from-what combination of reading, life, research, and random events is going to make me go, "Oh, hey, I know what'd be fun." But sometimes I can identify the final piece of it. The idea for this book came from a conversation with my friend and poker teacher Chris "Pokerfox" Wallace. We were discussing a writing project of his, and he mentioned some things that he was doing that made me go, "Oh, wow, I gotta try that." So I stole it. 
How much of what I grabbed and ran through my own process would be recognizable from the idea he gave me? I don't know. But if his work makes its way into the world, and you read it, and something strikes you as familiar, I want you to know that he didn't get it from me, I got it from him. Thanks, Fox."
It would be interesting to read Chris Wallac's book if it is every published and compare it to this volume. It would an academic undertaking much like comparing C.S. Lewis's Science fiction trilogy with the works of Olaf Stapledon's. But back to the Good Guys. 

This book was a really fun read. It has a fast pace, and once you are hooked you will not want to put it down. The main premise is that there is magic in the world, but most people are not aware of it. It follows a small crew who work for the Foundation, who try and cover up or prevent public notice of the use of magic. And track down those who are using it outside the approved guidelines. Each member of the crew has special abilities and are certified for this type of field work. The Foundation has a mixed history and is the off shoot of an organization called the Roma Vindices Mystici. Apparently the split took place during the reign of Franco in Spain. 

In this adventure the bodies start piling up and as each is killed in a more gruesome way than the previous. But as the team investigates they are noticing a pattern and a trend. To some extent the victims seem to warrant it in some ways. Our lead is Donovan, sort of a magic detective cross between Mike hammer and Spencer for Hire. He is backed up by Marci who has some very serious magic skills, both for protecting the team, and tracing magic that has been used, and how it was used, even days after the events. And then there is Hippy Chick aka Susan. In a world with magic that most are unaware of it. But something about this investigation is off, and the team find themselves targets. Can they solve the mystery, end the killings and protect themselves? You will need to read to find out. 

The characters in this book are wonderful. And I hope we get to encounter them again. The pace is excellent and the story at times whimsical and extremely entertaining. Another great read by a master with the pen!   

Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:

Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)
Tsalmoth (2023)

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Tsalmoth (2023)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
The Sun, the Moon & the Stars (1987)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)
My Own Kind of Freedom (2008)
Good Guys (2018)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):
The Incrementalists
The Skill of our Hands

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust
Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on (2013)

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