Cameron's Reviews > Stalking The Unicorn

Stalking The Unicorn by Mike Resnick
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's review
Dec 17, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: urban-fantasy
Read in December, 2008

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 figment of his drunken imagination and that the sidestep into the other Manhattan (replete with slightly skewed versions of everything in Mallory's Manhattan, such as Madison Circular Garden) is an after affect of being dumped by his partner and wife for each other.
Resnick makes use of a lot of the quirky and strange and bizarre as Green later does, but the effect is rather flat. He interjects rather random moments of absurdity that distract from the pacing of the plot, and his descriptions of places feel two dimensional. His characters lack a certain panache, and Mallory only briefly flirts with this at the end of the book. His big bad villain waxes philosophical near the end, and rather than make him a creepier or more lethal bad guy, it just makes him seem inane.
There are definite moments of hilarity, oddly usually brought about by surly and lascivious leprechauns and treasure hordes consisting of balls of string and porn magazines. The budding partnership that Mallory forms with Colonel Winnifred Carruthers also holds potential to be fairly interesting, especially given her penchant for killing big game, but whether this will bring me back for the second novel is debatable.

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