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Bitter Gold Hearts
Glen Cook
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Bitter Gold Hearts (Garrett Files #2)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,455 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
The Stormwarden's children have been kidnapped and Garrett, P.I. is on the case. But caught between the bewitching beauty of a half-elf and the fearsome power of a horde of ogres, Garrett has to think twice before sacrificing all for a fortune in gold-after all, even in this enchanted land, he's only human.
Published March 1994 by New American Library (first published 1988)
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4.0 to 4.5 stars. The return of Garrett P.I. in the second installment of the "Garrett Files" series. While very similar in tone and plotting to the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher, I actually enjoy these books more as a result of the world that Glen Cook as created. It is basically a more noir version of Harry Dresden in a medieval fantasy world filled with ogres, elves, vampires, witches, giants, centaurs, etc.. A fun, fast read with a couple of good laughs along the way. Recommended!!
May 27, 2013 Bookwraiths rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this book much more than the first one; Garrett is beginning to grow on me I suppose. Plus the actual "job" Garrett works on in this case just was more interesting to me: kidnapping which turns into multiple murders with numerous suspects. The ending was a bit hoo-hum, but other than that a good time killer.
**edited 01/29/14

After his last disastrous adventure (Sweet Silver Blues), Garrett, a human detective in a creative and chaotic city chock-full of sorcerers, elves, centaurs, ratmen, and more, is back to just back to trying to make a living in the big city. However, when a beautiful and mysterious half-fey girl turns up in his office, he has a premonition things are about to get complicated. The girl offers him an enormous amount of money to consult on the kidnapping of the son of one of the mos
May 10, 2011 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is not for everybody. There is a bittersweet undertone that makes them worth reading - and re-reading - but you have to have a certain amount of... life experience, I guess, to really get it.

The cynical take on war, immigration, and the economics thereof could have been written yesterday. Yet, the series began in 1987.

Very prescient, but then Glen Cook has an almost depressingly accurate understanding of human nature.

Also, although the dead Loghyr is supposed to be the center of the
Michael Hall
Aug 05, 2012 Michael Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing on with the Garrett series and I'm enjoying every page along the way. This book certainly improved upon the formula of the first one. Garrett is back at it with his whimsical cynicism and mystery within mystery adventures that leave you guessing till the very end. The only complaint here is the very end was a bit anti-climatic with too much dialogue about things hidden from the reader. Hopefully that's not a gimmick the author will use regularly, because I'm really liking this charact ...more
Larry Wentzel
Jul 26, 2015 Larry Wentzel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bitter Gold Hearts is a damn solid detective novel. Unlike Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts has a solid, down-to-earth murder mystery. It held my idle curiosity and made me speculate several times about whodunnit and whyitwasdun. The everpresent war in the story's background has taken away the head of the noble household, and while the head is away, the rest of the family is coming undone. The nicest character in the story, an innocent beauty of noir tropes, dies under mysterious circumsta ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in a long-running series that is one of my all-time favorites. The twisty plots and interesting characters make each book a great read. It focuses on a former Marine, Garrett, who now works as a private investigator in a fantasy-styled city named TunFaire. This one has Garrett tied up with the inner problems of one of the rich and powerful of the city, who also happens to be a sorceress. This dysfunctional family drives our hero to distraction and to disastrous consequences.
Joey O'Donnell
Hard-boiled detective noir set in a pre-industrial fantasy world? Seems to work out pretty well. This could almost be stock urban fantasy except that it isn't set in Atlanta or Chicago. It's set in TunFaire, where elves and dwarves and ogres and humans and halfbreeds and all sorts of other things coezist with all of the racial problems that might go with such a mix. Garrett is a PI working in the city and gets roped into various cases.

In BGH, his case starts off as a kidnapping and quickly runs
Yet again, I am faced with a book I read earlier this year, but don't entirely remember very well. Aside from Garrett's embrace of an open relationship that's perhaps more open than his long distance paramour knows, I liked this book better than the first in the series. It's still not great in its portrayal of women, but at least there's some variety, and I think it hangs together much better as a mystery, with a pretty good action-laden conclusion (albeit one that perhaps Team Garrett should ha ...more
Mar 03, 2008 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Glen Cook does a pretty good job mixing classic detective noir with a low fantasy world. The main character is a cynical private investigator with a good heart underneath; there are plenty of scoundrels (human, non, and partially), a kidnapping, unexplained deaths, and double crosses. All good components of a classic detective story. Cook manages to work the fantasy elements in fairly well, and gives just enough of the world so the reader has a fair idea where the main character stands.

I thought
Jul 14, 2013 Keven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first Garrett, P.I. novel well enough to pick up the second - and that was a good decision on my part. While i enjoyed the first one, I never really developed a strong emotional connection with Garrett or the other characters. They seemed a bit flat, and overly stereotypical (or perhaps overly archetypical would be a more apt description). But either because of the writing, or because I came into book #2 with some previous experience with the characters, I found myself really liking ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Sebastien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-fantasy
Immédiatement après avoir fini de lire le premier roman de cette série, j'ai commencer le second livre en espérant qu'il soit un peu plus travaillé que le premier livre.

C'est assez sidérant de voir la différence directement dans les premières pages du livre, meilleur prose, meilleur écriture, meilleur descriptions et surtout une histoire et un style qui se tient beaucoup plus.

Cette fois-ci on a plus l'impression de lire un roman policier/aventure fantaisie qu'une aventure plus ou moins intéressa
Oct 16, 2010 Justus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a (almost entirely unsatisfied) sweet tooth for alt-noir detective stuff like this. That is, I like it in theory but the reality never lives up to what I crave. The Garrett Files aren't as good as Raymond Chandler. I realize that's about as cutting a criticism as saying a play isn't as good as Shakespeare.

There is nothing terribly bad about Bitter Gold Hearts. The weaknesses are the same weaknesses that all detective series have: the same sidekicks get recycled every book, for instance. T
Ian Cockerill
Oct 21, 2015 Ian Cockerill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really torn between four and five stars - so why not be (only slightly) generous?
This is a very good noir-ish detective novel that happens to be set in a fantasy world with ogres, elves, fairies, etc, and half breeds of everything else.
The second in the series and in my view better than the first, it's actually a cracking good read and I'll be seeking out the rest.
Richard Gorton
Apr 13, 2014 Richard Gorton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with most of Glen Cook's books, the story is imaginative, and well told. Without being a spoiler, the interplay between Garrett and the Dead Man is humorous. One delightfully descriptive phrase regarding a different character is "tell to go pick her nose with her elbow". Garrett is clearly someone who does not tolerate the self-important
Mar 16, 2016 Bryson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I thought the first book was kind of silly. The characters are a little ridiculous and the story takes a little while to build. But after going through it once in the first book, the second book was a lot more fun. I wasn't sure I'd come back to this series, but I think I'm hooked for at least the next few books.
Text Addict
I'm not sure why I like this one better than the first one ... I think maybe the plot held together better for me, and it was more mystery-like than the first one.

On another note, partway through I started wondering if the Dead Man is some kind of homage to Nero Wolf. That was a little distracting.
Pretty good, 'cept for the retread of the same exact resolution action-wise to the climax as the first book not once, but twice, and it's kind of odd Red was out of town in a world with no cars or planes...just in time for the femme fatales with (mostly) hearts of gold to show up.
Not as bad as Sweet Silver Blues but still with many sigh-worthy moments. I think the titles are the best thing about this series.
Ogres, elves, witches, dwarves, the dead man, etc. A bevy of characters live in and around Tunfaire, making up a kaleidoscopic population of interesting beings. The kidnapping of the children of an affluent family member from up on the hill, brings Garrett on board as detective. But nothing is what it seems. There's misrepresentation, murder, blackmail and the list goes on. I enjoyed the story enough to continue with the series.
Red Wolf
May 06, 2014 Red Wolf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book better than book one. I like that not everything always works out. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. Other times you are right in the middle. More like reality, in a fantasy story.
Diana K Rice
Apr 15, 2015 Diana K Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read

This series is engaging and I can't wait to go on the next case. Garrett and his gang of cohorts are the stuff a good read is all about.
Aug 15, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just as good as the first with the same faults. An easy and enjoyable read in an interesting world, I look forward to reading more of these books.
These Garrett mystery/fantasy novels are a lot of fun, blending the best elements of whodunits with a fantasy world. Light rrading, but entertaining too.
Aaron Meyer
Nov 07, 2015 Aaron Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Good story. Convoluted for sure. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest in this series
Sep 11, 2014 Janna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, bitter ending. It made my heart ache like Philip Marlowe looking at knights in chess. I loved it.
Bob Schumaker
I enjoyed this entire series immensely. I grab the next one as soon as I see it!
I'm starting to buy that the sexism is intentional.
Feb 22, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second Garrett novel takes a turn down the mean streets of TunFaire in a Chandler-esque story that is as dark as Polanski's Chinatown and as colorful as your old Dungeons and Dragons game sessions. If you haven't read any of Glen Cook's books, you really should. Dizzying plots, unique characters, and Garrett in the middle of it all, stirring the plot with a wry quip or a smart-ass remark.
This is the second book about PI Garrett, classic noir with a fantasy twist. The author slowly shows up the fantasy side of the tale, though they are quite important, and we get to see some magic.

The plot is classic, with blinds, red herrings, and a quest for revenge and coin, etc, but with Ogres playing the role of thugs, a mage as the powerful backer, and despite the twists, quite predictable.

It is a bit formulaic, but the fantasy elements and how well they mesh with the rest of the plot help
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Glen Cook was born in New York City, lived in southern Indiana as a small child, then grew up in Northern California. After high school he served in the U.S. Navy and attended the University of Missouri. He worked for General Motors for 33 years, retiring some years ago. He started writing short stories in 7th grade, had several published in a high school literary magazine. He began writing with m ...more
More about Glen Cook...

Other Books in the Series

Garrett Files (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Sweet Silver Blues (Garrett P.I., #1)
  • Cold Copper Tears (Garrett P.I., #3)
  • Old Tin Sorrows (Garrett Files, #4)
  • Dread Brass Shadows (Garrett Files, #5)
  • Red Iron Nights (Garrett Files, #6)
  • Deadly Quicksilver Lies (Garrett Files, #7)
  • Petty Pewter Gods (Garrett P.I., #8)
  • Faded Steel Heat (Garrett P.I., #9)
  • Angry Lead Skies (Garrett P.I., #10)
  • Whispering Nickel Idols (Garrett P.I., #11)

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