May 19, 2011

Review: Hard Day's Knight by John Hartness

Hard Day's Knight
Author: John Hartness
Series: Black Knight Chronicles, Book 1
ISBN: 0011980850
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

*Novel provided by the author via Bookish Snob Promotions

For more information please visit John Hartness' website.

Children are missing.

The police are stumped.

Halloween is coming, with an ancient evil on the horizon.

The vampires are the good guys.

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, NC. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to keep a young client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.

Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil into the world, and enlist the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.

Hard Day's Knight, the first novel in the Black Knight Chronicles by John G. Hartness, was something of a pleasant surprise. Fun, witty and above all else utterly entertaining, this novel had me laughing within minutes and completely engaged by the characters. Written with wit and a healthy dose of sarcasm, this novel has been touted to appeal to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Dresden Files, and as a fan of both, I whole heartedly agree!

First, let me start with the writing. It was fun, fluid and fresh managing to capture the darker world of vampires while making them utterly human and lovable. But, still there was a great sense of mystery and adventure about the story keeping it quick and interesting. The premise was well developed with lots of great aspects and elements spanning from a mere vampire tale to one that delves in to greater demons, fallen angels, zombies, creepy child minion demons and even a quick cameo by the Man Upstairs himself. With such a wide range of creatures, the story still maintains a great focus and wraps up the tale nicely while still leaving the reader wanting more of this dynamic duo.

The characters themselves were wonderful! I really adored them and their subtle quality of dorkdom. And honestly, who doesn't think the suave creature of the night thing is a bit tired. Okay, so definitely not, but still, this was a fresh approach creating a duo of vampires that I really, really loved. They had fun personalities and I enjoyed all of the pop culture references. Truly, if most vampires are ones that you would want to date and fall in to bed with, then these are the two vampires you would most want as friends. The fun banter between them, even the story of their creation, was just plain entertaining and the chemistry between them was wonderful. And there's even a splash of romance in the form of tough as nails detective reminiscent of Murphy from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. And really, all of the characters were just as unique and interesting, from the good guys to the 'client'.

The world building was just as well done bringing to life a dark and mysterious Charlotte filled with all sorts of things that went bump in the night. While the atmosphere is mostly fairly light hearted, there is an overlying sense of doom coming, but this is in no way a 'dark' tale. I've seen it posted that fans of Buffy the Vampires Slayer and the Dresden Files will enjoy this series, and I couldn't agree more as a fan of both fandoms. It has a lot of the same qualities bringing to life a supernatural environment that still manages to be fun and dangerous at the same time.

Honestly, this is one of the best books that I've read this year and certainly a new series that I will additively be following from here on out. Hartness has a great voice and writing style that I loved, and my only complaint about the novel? It was too short. Seriously, that's it. So, needless to say, I highly recommend this novella to any one who loves Urban Fantasy with some great humor!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Scars


Beverly said...

Just swinging by to say hi! I am participating in this tour too - stop by on my day - May 25

John G. Hartness said...

Thanks for the great review! Glad you enjoyed the book!

VampFiction said...

I haven't read anything else by Hartness, but Hard Day's Knight borders on pure solipsism. If his forced humor and nonstop "aren't I clever" similes on every other page were half as effective as he thinks they are, this guy would've no doubt racked up a few Thurber awards by now. Compound metaphors as a literary device should be used sparingly. The author leans on them so heavily, by Chapter 4 I'm actually counting them. He can turn a phrase for sure, but with all the ego-driven hubris makes it difficult to stay on point. I'm gonna give him another shot, and hopefully he'll leave all the "that mug of Miller High Life sittin' on the bar was flatter than a plate of lukewarm piss" junk behind.

Christopher Bunn said...

Sounds like a fun read. The wedding of Buffy and Dresden should produce some good looking kids.