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Stalking the Unicorn: A Fable of Tonight (John Justin Mallory Mystery #1)

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  825 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
It's New Year's Eve and the elf perched on John Justin Mallory's desk wants his missing unicorn back. And that's the easy part. Mallory's wife has run off with his partner, his detective business is in ruins, and the mob's out to get him. With so many wonderful things happening, Mallory decides that a case involving a trip from reality might not be so bad. After all, what ...more
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Published August 1st 2009 by Findaway World (first published January 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,580)
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3.5 stars. Another good, fun read by Resnick, this time taking on classic detective story taking place in a fantasy setting. Not as good as the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher or The Garrett Files by Glen Cook, but still worth reading.
Mike (the Paladin)
Dec 20, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
First a few words about, parody. I've read a few (and for that matter concerning movies, seen a few) parodies I liked. As a rule however I don't like parody for parody's sake. I'd call this book a semi-parody. It's a sort of urban fantasy with a twist placed in what might be called "an alternate earth", or "alternate New York". In reading it I vacillated from a lower rating (2 stars) to a higher rating (possibly as high as 4 stars). I really didn't care for it at first...but it grew on me a bit ...more
What do you get when you cross a down-on-his-luck private eye, a randy elf, a femme feline, a miniature horse, and a whole host of other oddball characters? Well, if you answered, "The book this review is about, you dolt," or something to that effect, then congratulations, you are right (and slightly hurtful). You get a gold star.

Stalking the Unicorn instantly had me hooked with the appealing characters, interesting plot, and tongue-in-cheek humor. The story flowed well and at a nice, clipped pa
Aug 11, 2015 Alazzar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stalking the Unicorn is a detective story and, as such, contains a lot of what you'd expect from a detective novel: a smart-talking protagonist, a high dialogue-to-action ratio, and lots of shady characters.

Oh, and detecting. There's plenty of detecting.

What Resnick brings to the genre is the fantasy-setting of an alternate Manhattan inhabited by leprechauns, trolls and the like. Personally, I think adding this type of stuff to the noir world of a P.I. only makes things more interesting--after a
Jeff Yoak
I'm a big fan of he hard-boiled detective genre from Sam Spade, through the detective-poets like Spenser and McGee. This started out as a brilliant twist -- take a well-drawn character of that genre and and immerse him in a case of fantasy. It started strong, answering questions like what Sam Spade might have done after his wife ran away with his partner, bill collectors at his door and a couple of whiskeys down the hatch if a client wandered in, and that client happened to be an elf. How would ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Jul 31, 2011 DeAnna Knippling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detective work and depression: in fiction, at least, they seem to go hand in hand. Having done freelance for a while now, I have to wonder if it's an occupational rather than personal hazard caused by waiting for work to come in...

Anyway, I started out kind of frustrated with this book. It just RAMBLES. A detective goes to the fairy version of NYC, trying to find a unicorn. Before the plot complications start to set in (it *is* a detective novel, after all, and someone's always lying), it's just
Very similar to Simon R. Green's "Nightside". This quirky adventure is based on funny dialogs rather than on real action or suspense. Thanks to a little green elf who hires him to find a stolen unicorn, PI John Justin Mallory finds himself in an alternate New York where there are yellow elephants instead of taxis, horses talk and stuffed animals don't actually realize they are already dead, where hawkers sell suntan lotion in the middle of a blizzard and there's a Department of a Redundancy Depa ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall this was a lot of fun to read, it was quick, easy, entertaining and while it wasn't the deepest book I've ever read I did find myself enjoying and caring about the main characters, even the villains and enjoying the 1Cmystery 1D as it developed.

I thought there was a good balance with the strangeness of the alternate Manhattan, the humor and the overall plot and the ending really worked well for me but I would have preferred more character development instead of anther example of how dif
Clay Rylee
Oct 02, 2012 Clay Rylee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved "Stalking the Unicorn" by Mike Resnick and look forward to reading more of the John Justin books. The humor and wit in this book is wonderful and kept me going back and forth between chuckling to outright laughing as the story flowed onward with a non-stop pace. Also I really apreciated the appendixes at the end of the book that fill you in on some of the events that happen after the story is done. All in all I highly recomend this wonderful book.
Jacob Roche
This book was a fun, easy read, but is probably better suited for a YA audience or someone on a long flight. It loses itself somewhat in the world building and spends most of its time on random, unrelated little vignettes to add flavor to the world but not much else. The book ends up feeling a lot like a frame story for the author to include whimsical jokes and stories loosely tied together, with the main plot feeling very rushed in the last fifty or so pages. That said, it's lighthearted, the c ...more
Barbara M
A clever fantasy. Mallory is you stereo-typical hard-boiled Manhattan detective that is barely making ends meet. On New Year's Eve, he is approached by an elf to help him find a unicorn that the elf lost. If he's not found, the elf dies because he was supposed to be guarding it. He offers John Justin Mallory quite a bit of money for his assistance. Once they agree, Mallory is taken to an alternate Manhattan where things are very different. This is the first in a series. I picked this up as a lig ...more
May 01, 2016 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Overall this was a lot of fun to read, it was quick, easy, entertaining and while it wasn't the deepest book I've ever read I did find myself enjoying and caring about the main characters, even the villains and enjoying the “mystery” as it developed.

I thought there was a good balance with the strangeness of the alternate Manhattan, the humor and the overall plot and the ending really worked well for me but I would have preferred more character development instead of anther example of how differ
Today's post is on 'Stalking the Unicorn' a Fable of Tonight by Mike Resnick. It is the first in a short series consisting of three novels and many short stories. It is published by Pyr and is 280 pages including some appendixes with some side information from the story. The cover has the back of the hero to the reader with the Other Manhattan before him and us. As you are reading the book remember to look at the cover as you do because you will see things from the book, I think that it is fun b ...more
If you’ve read the Dresden series, this might sound familiar. However it’s different in so many ways. Unlike the Dresden Files, Stalking the Unicorn is much lighter and the element of a dark comedy is much more prevalent throughout the story. It was a fun enjoyable read, and John Justin Mallory does make a good protagonist to follow.

The worlds created in this book are interesting. There’s ‘normal’ Manhattan and the other Manhattan inhabited with fantastical creatures. John Justin Mallory gets s
Oct 15, 2012 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, needs-editing
When I was deciding whether to get this or not, I hesitated because of one or two reviews which suggested that it tends to be whimsical for no good reason. That is, there are whimsical scenes which don't end up having anything to do with the resolution of the story.

I should really have listened. Whimsical for no good reason works all right in a children's book, but this is definitely not one. It's a kind of clash, and I do mean clash, between a noir detective story and... not Alice in Wonderlan
Dec 17, 2008 Cameron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Though it predates Simon Green's Nightside series by many years, Resnick's foray into a then-unformulated genre of urban fantasy could take some notes from a detour through the Nightside.
John Justin Mallory is the crapped on detective who is hired by a little green elf to find his lost charge, a fairly common unicorn. Since Mallory is accustomed to the "normal" cases of cheating husbands, this is a bit of a stretch for him. He spends the first quarter of the novel insisting that the elf is a f
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
John Justin Mallory is the prototypical private investigator. He’s got no money, no prospects, and no joy in his work. His ex-partner has left their failing business with a mob-oriented mess in Mallory’s lap…plus, he took Mallory’s wife him. It’s New Year’s Eve and Mallory is spending it drinking in his office. Enter Mürgenstürm…a little green elf with a big problem. He’s got until dawn to find a unicorn called Larkspur that was left in his care and is now missing. If he doesn’t find it the elf’ ...more
It's New Year's Eve and Private Detective John Justin Mallory is drinking the night away in his office. Mallory has had a tough time of late---his business partner not only ran off with his wife but also angered some very bad men before skipping town. The bad men now have their sights set on Mallory. Enter a little green elf named Mürgenstürm; if possible, the elf is in an even worse predicament than Mallory. He was entrusted with guarding a unicorn, but slipped away for a little love tryst and ...more
Mike Kazmierczak
Sep 07, 2012 Mike Kazmierczak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was first turned on to Mike Resnick by Subterranean Press and the Dr. Lucifer Jones short stories they published. I loved all the adventures of Dr. Lucifer Jones that I could find. When I found STALKING THE UNICORN in a bookstore, I just had to pick it up and see if I liked other stuff by Resnick. And I did. In fact, in some ways STALKING THE UNICORN is better than the Dr. Lucifer Jones stories; Dr. Lucifer Jones becomes a bit repetitive on how stupid but fun he can be.

Anyway, John Justin Mall
Nov 10, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, mystery, fantasy
My fiancé got a kick out of this book, and even though it meant tearing myself away from the series I’m in the middle of, I decided to give it a try. It was a nice change of pace and a quick read.

On New Year’s Eve, John Justin Mallory, a Manhattan detective, is approached by a distressed elf looking to hire his services. Because his attention was drawn to an amorous tryst, the elf has lost a valuable unicorn entrusted to his watch, and he needs Mallory to help him find it before his guild finds
Kelli Lee
Jul 16, 2014 Kelli Lee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-noir
Not the book for me; I couldn't finish it. It started off interesting enough, but there was still something missing. Maybe it's the fact that I didn't really like the characters. Who knows why, all I can say is that it was missing that certain je ne sais quoi of what makes a book unputdownable. I would put this book down and start reading another book. That should have been my first clue. I think Stalking the Unicorn has potential but just didn't quite get there for me. I really wanted to like t ...more
May 08, 2015 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Awesome read! A fantasy world existing in tandem with ours, with very well written characters and fun subplots along the way (love the two old guys playing chess, the current state of the board is revealed in the end of the book). I'm not putting in a date I finished the book, as about once a year i'll pick it up and read it again. Terrific read for any lovers of sci-fi fantasy.
Ian Cockerill
Aug 28, 2015 Ian Cockerill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a fun read, quick, witty and nicely done. Reminds me of Kevin J Anderson's Dan Shambles books (neither copying the other but to give you an idea of style and tone).
The book takes the normal urban fantasy tropes and moves them around the board quite satisfactorily. Well worth a read and I'll probably look for the others in the series, albeit not urgently.
Apr 24, 2014 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of John Justin Mallory's published adventures, and introduces the fun fantasy world he inhabits as a hard-boiled private eye with a heart of gold. It's a fine, entertaining read, much lighter than the similar Nightside works of Simon Green. Lots of entertaining characters and funny situations; perfect for when you need a good laugh.
May 24, 2015 Charlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Step sideways into the other kind of big city streets where the subway gnomes eat subway tokens and unicorns roam wild. There is a mystery which needs to be uncovered and it takes a certain kind of private eye to do that.

A wonderful blend of B movie crime thriller, high fantasy and gritty 'real world' comentary. After I first read this, I searched for years for something else by the same author which I hoped would be just as good. Unfortunately there was no internet then and I found nothing. Hav
Jan 22, 2015 Lapo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Goodson
Jan 28, 2013 Simon Goodson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read two of Mike Resnick's books before - Second Contact and The Dark Lady. Both are great books which have stuck with me through the years (and have been read several times), but they are both quite serious books. Stalking the Unicorn is completely different, but is another great book.

The characters throughout the book are wonderful. The hero is easy to like and as he struggles to come to terms with a very different city full of Unicorns, Elves, Leprechauns and a powerful Demon you come to
Sep 27, 2012 Jen3n rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is cute. It will be familiar to some readers: it follows a noir-esque modern day privete eye into a mirror-image, fantasy Manhatten where he solves crime and might be literally on the side of the angels. This "Wonderland" trope has become mroe common, but this book was written almost 30 years ago so we can't accuse anyone of cribbing form anyone else's bestseller.

I liked it. The author is an excellent writer and the characters that were meant to be multi-dimentional almost approached it. I
Stalking the Unicorn was a kicky and very fun little detective novel set in a fantasy universe.

In the story, John Justin Mallory is just another New York City PI who is hired to investigate a missing unicorn. He gets pulled into another New York, a fantastical one, and encounters all kinds of interesting creatures.

In the author's notes, Resnick talks about how this book is sort of an anti-epic-fantasy (ala Tolkein and every other author that loves dramatic wizards in big pointy hats) and he does
Nov 13, 2012 Nik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This book was surprisingly entertaining and I enjoyed every parody-esque moment. The combo of the old school noir detective suddenly working the beat in a world with fairytale characters that aren't sugar and spice was brilliant. BRILLIANT! It never got cheesy in a bad way. It never went too far. It blended the worlds AND had a few good twists in the mystery department. Detetive John Justin Mallory is a well written character and I love him. Winifred and Eo-hyppus are fantastic too. The Grundy i ...more
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Michael "Mike" Diamond Resnick, better known by his published name Mike Resnick, is a popular and prolific American science fiction author. He is, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction. He is the winner of five Hugos, a Nebula, and other major awards in the United States, France, Spain, Japan, Croatia and Poland. and has been short-listed ...more
More about Mike Resnick...

Other Books in the Series

John Justin Mallory Mystery (3 books)
  • Stalking the Vampire
  • Stalking the Dragon

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