Eddie LaCrosse and his tough girlfriend, Liz, are back in Eddie’s fifth adventure by Alex Bledsoe. I’ve enjoyed each one of these stories, especially the audiobook versions produced by Blackstone Audio. The narrator, Stefan Rudnicki, has become the voice of Eddie LaCrosse for me — strong and gruff, but also sweet and sensitive.
The EDDIE LACROSSE books don’t have to be read in order — you could even start with this one — but each book fills in a little more of Eddie’s background and there is an overall story arc, mostly dealing with Eddie’s love life, so reading them in order would probably be ideal. Besides, each story is worthy to be read, so why not read them in order if you can?
In the prologue of He Drank, and Saw the Spider, we meet Eddie when he was 16 years younger. After abandoning his mercenary job, he saves an infant girl from a bear. (Yes, Eddie saves a female in every book). A baby will cramp Eddie’s style, so he takes little Isador to a nearby town and, after facing down a mob of pitchfork-yielding mothers, finds a shepherd family to raise her. As any reader will expect, baby Isador is special (though we don’t know how yet).
Fast-forward 16 years and Eddie and Liz are making a delivery to mad King Jerry who lives in a city near where Eddie left the baby. Since it’s springtime and Eddie and Liz are now on vacation after this delivery, they decide to tour the nearby spring fairs. When they visit the town where Isador lives, Eddie, who can’t let any clue go by unexamined, notices that something strange is going on. That’s how he and Liz get caught up in a drama involving the mysterious baby (now a pretty teenager), a handsome prince, a jealous king, and a strange sorceress who’ll remind you of Dr. Frankenstein. Though these characters may seem at first like they walked right out of the books next to Alex Bledsoe’s on the Barnes & Noble shelf, they don’t play the roles we expect.
If you’re new to EDDIE LACROSSE, you might be a little surprised at some of Bledsoe’s writing choices. His setting is recognizably medieval, but his language is modern (as just one example, one character remarks “drama, much?”), his women are liberated, there are some anachronisms thrown in for fun, and each of the stories, despite the setting, has a hard-boiled mystery feel. There’s also a bit of humor, much of it involving Eddie’s propensity for being a grammar stickler. Fans are familiar with this strange mix, and we like it.
I must end this review with another commendation of the audio version. I don’t know how many more EDDIE LACROSSE books we’ll be getting, but I’ll be reading every one of them on audio. (Sorry, Tor.)