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Book Review: The Dragon and The Detective

The Dragon and The Detective (Dragon Tales & Stories #2) by Drew Henriksen
Published:
April 7, 2006 by ArcheBooks Publishing
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Reviewed By: Nicole Raines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Plot: Detective Craig Scalici is working a case of mysterious murders, where the remains look like they have been eaten and regurgitated. Of course, this cant be possible.. What kind of creature could eat and regurgitate an entire body? Craig and his daughter have also been having strange dreams of flying and being stalked by something evil. What could this mean? With a reporter out to destroy his career and an ex-wife suing for custody, he must try to keep his cool and put a stop to the evil that is killing everybody in it’s path, before it gets to him and his daughter.

My Thoughts:  The Dragon and The Detective is the second book in the Dragon Tales & Stories trilogy by author Drew Henriksen. After really enjoying the first book, I was looking forward to diving back into the world Henriksen had created. However, I wasnt expecting to dive into the 1970s after spending 400 years in the future in book one. Initially I was a little bit disappointed in the change of settings, but then my initial disappointment was put aside as the storyline started to take shape and the characters pulled me in.

The book opens with the unexplainable disappearance of big time mob boss Frank Gercio. Gercio and his limo completely vanishes without a trace. Craig and Aisha are called to the crime scene when Gercio and his limo are discovered several miles away from the vanishing point. What’s worse, the limo and Gercio’s body looks like it has been completely eaten and regurgitated. Talk about a crazy crime scene!  Craig knows there’s no logical explanation for what could have happened to Gercio and he soon starts to realize there might be some supernatural force at work. When he starts having dreams about dragons and flying at night, he begins to wonder if dragons are real and if one could have eaten Frank Gercio. Of course that explanation is crazy. Or is it? Keeping his concerns to himself, he looks to another plausible explanation: Frank Gercio’s daughter, Marcella, who is even more dangerous than her father ever was.

At first I wasnt sure about the main character, Craig Scalici. His aloofness with people at work somewhat put me off, but once I discovered his devotion to his daughter, Meredith, I quickly grew to like him. He also has a witty personality, but with somewhat of inappropriate humor for the work place. He was an interesting character to say the least. I also liked his partner at work, Aisha Barlow. She has a no-nonsense attitude. I loved how straightforward she was with Craig when he sometimes needed to be put in his place. Two of my favorite characters were Craig’s daughter Meredith and her babysitter Jeannine. Meredith has a keen sense to the supernatural around her, even though she’s very young. For some reason I was drawn to her the most and loved Jeannine relationship with her.

Marcella is the main antagonist of The Dragon and the Detective and let me just say that she is loathsome! There’s really not a single redeemable quality about her. Maybe her love for her son, but not even that could endure her to me. Not only is she deadly as the mob bosses daughter, she truly is evil in every sense of the word. I actually felt bad for her husband. She’s also a very powerful witch. Using both her positions of power, mob & magic, she’s out to destroy anybody she views as a threat and that includes Craig. With the help of a mysterious book and blood magic, she begins to target Craig and everybody in his life.

I dont want to spoil too much of the storyline, so I better not say too much more about the plot, but when I first started reading, I wasnt sure how The Dragon and the Detective would tie in with the first book, Dragon and Wolves. The first book left me wondering about the history of a certain object and I’m almost certain that the object’s history is revealed in The Dragon and the Detective. I’m curious to know if both stories take place in the same area, but 400 years apart. I’m not certain at all, but I cant help but to wonder if Marcella’s mansion is the same mansion that burned down in Dragons and Wolves. It’s a question I would like to ask the author.

Like Dragons and Wolves, The Dragon and The Detective included a few illustrations throughout the story. They were done by Rob Granito. I wish more books included illustrations because they really do make a nice touch to the story.

Henriksen once again set a great pace to the story that kept the reader guessing. Even though Craig and his daughter both had dreams about flying with dragons, I could never figure out exactly who the dragon was and it wasn’t revealed until the very last chapter! It was a hell of a twist! One I never would have guessed and certainly didnt see coming. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the revelations. All I will say is that some of the characters ended up not being who I thought they were and it made me feel a little disappointed and a couple of deaths made me feel a little sad, but the overall storyline was really good read. There’s also a few side plots involving a snaky reporter trying to ruin Craig’s career and Craig’s relationship with a mysterious author, which all come together very nicely within the story.

Aside from a few grammar mistakes, I found the writing to be solid – being a really good blend of both mystery and fantasy. All the characters in the book are wrote with personality. Even the bad guys had a few characteristics about them you could appreciate, so I was never bored when the story went back and forth between characters. Henriksen once again proved that he has a great imagination and a knack for storytelling.  If you enjoyed Dragons and Wolves, you should have no trouble enjoying The Dragon and The Detective.

Book Review: Dragons and Wolves

Dragons and Wolves (Dragon Tales & Stories #1) by Drew Henriksen
Published:
August 1, 2004 by ArcheBooks Publishing
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Reviewed By: Nicole Raines
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Plot: Humans are facing extinction 400 years into the future. Forced to live nomadic lifestyles, humans have formed two groups: The Raiders, who pillage on their fellow humans in order to survive and the peaceful Tribes, who live their life in fear and on the run. Legends say that something even more deadly than Raiders exist in the world: Werewolves and dragons, both hunting and preying on humans. Not knowing if these legends are true, a deadly chain of events take place on one fateful night and in a struggle to save humanity, unexpected alliances will be made.

My Thoughts: Dragons and Wolves is the first book in the Dragon Tales & Stories trilogy by author Drew Henriksen. I really didnt know what to expect when I started reading it. I had never heard of the trilogy or the author, so I was a bit apprehensive, not knowing if I would like it. So I’m very pleased to say that I found it to be an exciting and adventures read!

Dragons and Wolves first introduces us the the Tribe members, gathered around a campfire as the Captain tells a story about the dangerous dragons. After the campfire story is over, the Tribes settle in for the night. Randy, the newest member of the Tribe, is supposed to be standing watch for Raiders and wolves, but instead  he ends up having a night of passion with his soon to be wife, while two young boys, Kyle and Yukie, decide to sneak off and explore a deserted mansion on a dare. The Captain sees the young boys sneaking off and decides to follow. These decisions lead to some consequential events as a werewolf lurks in the shadows, watching and waiting to make his move.

Dragons and Wolves is divided into two parts and Part Two of the story takes places in a much different setting than what we are first introduced to in Part One. Part Two introduces us to the newest Tribe members that have settled in a town. We also get to know the Raiders for the first time. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I was thrown for a loop regarding the setting of The Town. I thought I had missed something so I backtracked a bit and the obvious clues were there and I just missed them. It made for a major mind blowing moment at 3am in the morning when I was reading though! We get to know the town members and their link to the past a bit before the final showdown between the Wolves, Dragon and Town members. The showdown proved to be a bittersweet moment and I still dont know if I should feel happy or sad over the ending.

Henriksen did a great job at keeping the pace of the story going! As the story unfolds, you get a bird eye’s view from all angles of the characters involved. I was actually pretty surprised by how fast I was drawn in to the story and the characters alike. Henriksen set a fast paced tone to his story that kept the pages turning and the mystery flowing. Just when you thought you had the story figured out, Henriksen would throw a surprise your way.

Henriksen didnt pull any punches when it came to killing off some of my favorite characters. Just when I thought someone were safe, their death would come out of nowhere and it was never pretty. I actually got a little upset over at least three deaths within the story. While Dragons and Wolves definitely isnt the most gore filled book I’ve ever read, it’s still visceral – but with just the right amount of raw detail that any adult fan of the fantasy/horror genre can appreciate it without getting offended.

One of the things I found the most interesting was the lore of the dragons. Admittedly, I have never read any books that involved dragon mythology, so I have no idea how much Henriksen might have deviated from actual myth, but I really love the concept of them being immortal and able to live in human form without other humans being able to tell the difference. This detail plays a key part in the story. As for the werewolves, Henriksen kept them pretty much old school, aside from the fact they are also immortal. Werewolves can only be killed by silver bullets and a bite from one will make you into one of them. The description of their appearance reminded me of the 1996 movie “Bad Moon.” I really liked that he stuck with the old werewolf look I grew up appreciating in movies instead of trying to modernize them into full fledged wolves like I see in movies today.

Another thing I really liked about the book was the illustrations included. Even though there was only about four or five illustrations throughout, they managed to bring the story more to life. The illustrations were done by Jon Naughtin and I think he deserves kudos for his interpretation of what was happening within the story.

I only have one complaint with Dragons and Wolves and that’s the few grammar mistakes and typographical errors I found throughout. Although, it doesnt take away from the heart of the story, I just find it a shame that so many existed in such a good book. To be fair though, I dont have the best grammar skills myself.

Overall, I enjoyed it a lot, but I am left with a few questions regarding how the humans got to the the point of near extinction. I also wish that the history of a particular book that played a key role in the showdown would have been revealed. And even though I have my suspicions, I’m still left wondering about the Professor’s identity. I would recommend it as a great late night read though and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy and hoping that some of my questions will be answered.