- Title: The Mister Trophy
- Author: Frank Tuttle
- Series: Markhat #1
- Genre: Fantasy, Mystery
- Format: Kindle
- Source: Own
- Reviewed by: Olga
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: A troll’s missing head could cause Markhat to lose his own.
All the finder Markhat wanted was a beer at Eddie’s. Instead he gets a case that will bring him face to fang with crazed, blood-craving halfdead, a trio of vengeful Troll warriors, and Mama Hog’s backstreet magic. Plus, the possible resurgence of the Troll War.
Through the town of Rannit’s narrow alleys and mean streets, Markhat tries to stay one step ahead of disaster. And ignore Mama Hog’s dire warnings that this time, the head that rolls could be his own.
Product Warnings: This book contains well-dressed vampires, extremely polite Trolls, and occasional bursts of humor. Avoid reading it when landing aircraft, welding in the nude, or taunting grumpy jackals while wearing pork chop earmuffs.
Review: I’m glad I bought this book for my Kindle. It’s a short novella, a noir detective story, sweet and very fast. Despite the low page count, characterization is excellent. The tale introduces Markhat, the Finder. Three trolls hire him to find something for them – a war trophy, kept at the mansion of a local vampire. Of course, the wicked vampire doesn’t wish to part from his trophy, so mayhem ensues, and the trolls become Markhat’s unlikely friends and protectors. Clan-buddies, really.
Markham is definitely the hero here. Slightly embittered, definitely disillusioned, this smart-mouthed PI and a former soldier wouldn’t let any undead stand in the way of his Findings. Especially if he feels that his clients are in the right. Markhat’s moral compass makes him one of my favorite fantasy PIs.
The world building is handled marvelously. In as few terse sentences as possible, the writer transports his readers to a vaguely steampunk-ish city, balancing in between medieval tropes, industrial revolution, vampires, and sewers. Every detail plays a role, and nothing extraneous interferes with the galloping plot.
The secondary characters – Markhat’s clients, the trolls – are very colorful and surprisingly honorable, despite their teeth and claws. They fit well into the fantasy world the writer has created, and their integrity (with a troll twist, for sure, but still) is frequently funny for the jaded reader of the 21st century. I haven’t seen many ethical trolls in the genre, which makes this story highly original.
All the above-mentioned qualities, along with Mr. Tuttle’s dry sense of humor and his amazingly good language, clean and expressive, catapults this story to the top of the genre, at least for me. I’m going to buy the rest of Markhat’s adventures. There are already seven installments, I believe: something to look forward. I already smile in anticipation.
A very pleasurable little book.