Clever. Witty. Hilarious.
If I had to sum up Kyle Robert Shultz’ book, The Beast of Talesend in three words, those are the ones I would choose.
But, thankfully, I do not have to keep my review of this delightful tome to a mere three words. Isn’t that just fabulous? Therefore, you will now get a more thorough review. Lucky you!
Nick Beasley is a private investigator who lives in the Afterlands, in 1922 E.A. (Ever After). It has been approximately that long since the last “happily ever after” and magic is far less common now. In fact, Nick has made a pretty fair name for himself debunking all sorts of magical hoaxes and proving that magic more or less doesn’t even exist… perhaps it never did.
But his perspective on that… and everything else… is about to change.
I loved every page of this short novel. It had a hint of that 1920s, black and white, “Dragnet” or “Kojak” sort of feel to it. It was even told in that sort of matter-of-fact, first person sort of way that just has a very dry sense of humor to it.
Things I loved:
1. The characters. For such a short read (I think it took me about two hours to complete), the characters really spring off the pages. Nick is this grumpy, old-before-his-time, protective big brother who is sort of used to being right all the time. But he’s got a heart of gold and he cares about people. That’s the whole reason he is working so hard to prove that magic doesn’t exist: he’s seen too many people hurt by scam artists. Then there’s the Lady Cordelia, who is the polar opposite of Nick. She is impetuous and almost obnoxious in her brashness, but her “jump first, look later” nature is born of an absolute confidence in who she is and her own skills (and she really is pretty good at things) that you can’t help but admire her. Crispin is Nick’s younger brother, and at first he comes across as sort of your typical lazy lay-about who can’t hold down a job… but he is more capable than even he knows, and he is loyal to a fault.
2. The crime-drama aspects of the story. I love crime shows and detective-type stories. So those aspects of the story intrigued me and made me want to discover “whodunit” along with the characters.
3. The humor. Oh my goodness, the humor! This book is just dripping with snarky, tongue-in-cheek, dry humor. There were lines that made me chuckle on almost every page. And there was at least one moment where I could not even keep reading, I was laughing so hard. That is a huge win, in my book. I love a story that makes me laugh.
4. The world. I love the idea of all the fairy tales living along together in the same world, and this one was just so amusingly put together. With places like “Grimmany” and the “Palace of Villeneuve” scattered across the Afterlands, there were plenty of nods to the originals mingled together with entertaining puns to keep me begging for more stories set in this world.
5. THE LAST LINE….. AAAAAHHHHHHHH! CLEVERNESS!!!!!
Things I didn’t love:
Uuuuummmmm…. I’m supposed to balance out the raving from above here, right? I mean…
Nope. Can’t think of anything. Except maybe that it was too short.
And… that’s about it.
I will definitely be buying the sequel(s) and reading more from this author. If you enjoy crime shows, a writing style that hearkens back to the days of Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, mixed up fairy-tales, puns, hilarity, and unlikely heroes… this is a book you NEED to go get a copy of right now!
Five extremely well-deserved dragon eggs