Book Title: The Spiral Tattoo
An Elanore and Gurt Tale
Author: Michael J. Parry
Publisher: Sky Warrior Book Publishing
Publication Date: January 01, 2011
This is the first novel from Michael J Parry, based on a story originally released as a serial podcast, and it’s great; reading like a blend of Terry Pratchett and Kim Harrison, with fast paced action, witty dialogue and an interesting storyline.
The Spiral Tattoo is a fantasy murder mystery, not quite urban fantasy, but has a similar feel, set in a more traditional fantasy environment, with our two protagonists being Gurt, an Eleniu (fairy) who’s a smart mouth little arse, and also the main voice of the story; and Elanore, a troll who happens to be a freak of nature, being blessed with above average intelligence, and for some reason, the need to speak very formally. These two have a couple of murders to solve and a drug ring to bust,
Mr Parry has two major things going for him with The Spiral Tattoo, an excellent opening paragraph, and a really fantastic last chapter, and the bits in the middle will happily get a reader from a to b.
Although I enjoyed the premise and delivery of the story, I found the dialogue very difficult in many places and I didn’t actually like our main character, Gurt, which made it harder to form an emotional connection to the story.
Our other character, Elanore, is supposed to be a very articulate troll, with an insistence of speaking very correct English, so we have a lot of ‘we would have” rather than “we’d’ve”. This is, again, an interesting idea, but didn’t quite hit the mark. It wasn’t delivered in an overly formal manner of perhaps aristocracy or even the stilted formal style made famous by Mr Spock, but just as a language void of any form of slang. This made for very difficult and clumsy dialogue, particularly as it wasn’t always consistent, and I found the unnatural flow of the conversation kept throwing me out of the story just as I was starting to get engrossed.
Which led me to notice Gurt and his moralising
Gurt tells us he’s not a prude, but my gosh the things those people were doing on stage, in a strip club, and he spends a fair amount of time questioning the morals of the folks working in the brothel, the poor who are drinking in a bar, and wondering why poor would gamble their last dollar. If someone would please enlighten the poor upperclass snob fairy as to why these things happen in society I’d be forever in your debt (Elanore, I believe it’s your job to slap a little social awareness into your partner).
But despite those annoyances (which are big ones for me, I loathe overt moralising in my fiction), I STILL enjoyed the story, which does rather imply it’s rather good really. If you’re looking for an original, easy read, then The Spiral Tattoo is for you. It is a very addictive story. I’m looking forward to hopefully reading a second book in the Gurt and Elanore world.