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Bitter Gold Hearts

(Garrett Files #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  3,251 ratings  ·  102 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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1990 by Roc (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,251 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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May 25, 2013 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.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I liked Garrett, the moment I met him and, having just checked, I still like him. The purpose of this review is more to acquaint you with him than it is to discuss this “case file.”

I have seen this called “fantasy noir” but it could also be called fantasy detective fiction for reasons I will shortly describe. If you like Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin series or have recently dug into Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you don’t need to be a talented shamus to draw a line between those
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 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy, ebook
I love the Garrett Series and this 2nd volume much more then the first, because almost all of the action takes place in TunFaire Garrett's hometown. Lots of the interesting characters from book 1 are back and a few new ones added. My favorite character has to be The Dead Man, while being the smartest guy in the room, it's a room he can not leave. :)

(view spoiler)
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
"I don't play with little girls, but I know the feeling a man can get looking at a ripening fifteen-year-old."

Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Chandler's noir meets fairies, ogres, elves and trolls. Much mayhem ensues.
May 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 / 5

Bitter Gold Hearts is the 2nd novel in the Garrett PI series by Glen Cook. In many respects, it follows the path taken by the first novel in the series and thus it is quite similar. We still have our protagonist, Garrett the detective who is a typical witty hard-boiled crime-noir type character. He is as cliched as you can imagine but this is exactly what one expects and wants from such a story. The cast in this novel is big and varied and the plot threads keep tangling almost until the v
Gilbert Stack
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It seems unfair that Glen Cook should be the master of both the fantasy warfare genre (The Black Company) and the fantasy detective novel (the Garrett Files) but he undeniably is. Of the two genres, I suspect that the fantasy detective series is the most difficult. Not only does he have to have memorable characters whom the readers can both love to cheer for (and against), exciting action scenes, magic that enhances the story without overwhelming it, and a believable fantasy back drop, he has to ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy, Mystery, Noir fans
Shelves: 2019
Bitter Gold Hearts is the second installment in the Garrett Files by Glen Cook and I have to admit it was a smidgen better then the first. This one felt more like a noir and the mystery only kept getting bigger and bigger, without getting too heavy on the fantasy.
Many of the characters from the first novel have returned (some with bigger roles to play then others) and a few new names were brought into this tale. Most of the returning characters had some character progression or a little bit of
**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
Michael Hall
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Natalie aka Tannat
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. ...more
Ben Truong
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bitter Gold Hearts is the second book in the Garrett P.I. series written by Glen Cook and centered on the adventures of private investigator Garrett.

Garrett is approached at his house by a young woman named Amiranda Crest. She explains that her employer is the Stormwarden Raver Styx, whose son Karl daPena has been kidnapped. They want Garrett to organize the exchange between them and the kidnappers. The Domina Willa Dount, in charge while the Stormwarden is away, explains to Garrett that they on
Pye Josephus Joestar
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy, Mystery, Noir fans
Fantastic book, I was honestly was expecting the writing to be the same as the last book but It really has progressed very well. Cook's story telling and world building is getting better in this volume and the characters are great too. Garrett does a lot more leg work in this book and has a better character progression as well. I can definetly say the same for Saucerhead who is more of a main character in this book than Morely, who was a main character in the first book. I really enjoyed the new ...more
Ward G
From the start.
This one seems to be much better plotted out.
Than the first book in the series.

A wealthy kidnap victim or is he?
Many twists and turns. Including battling a gang of ogres.
Some red herring suspects.
Then again, is any one of them completely innocent?

Each move, seeming to uncover more secrets.
As bodies begin to pile up, along the way.

This was a decent, quick read.
Would have scored it higher.
Yet knocked down, a notch.
Simply for the fact. One of the villains behind the most wicked crime
Gio C
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second of the P.I. Garret novels. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Had me guessing from beginning to end. It was witty and fun didn't really drag along at all. All of the characters were likeable. I thought this was better than the first novel as it was easier to understand the "powers" of the different species that roam around Tunfair. Cant wait to read the next installment.
Kelly Stark
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bitter Gold, indeed

Things are starting to gel in the second book of this series. The plot was good, and the characters are developing.

I like Garrett’s household. Granted, as a Nero Wolfe fan for 40 years the parallels amuse me. My biggest problem so far is Garrett. He’s not likable so far.

After 2 books, I’m willing to keep going. I don’t know if I’ll make it through 14.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Big improvement from the first book. Plot is well contained and most of the action goes down in TunFair. Nice to get to know the city better and see some familiar characters. Still a lot of misogyny. Note to Glen Cook: intercourse that is a product of coercion (vs. direct force) is still rape.
Alison Palumbo
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't like it as much as the first book and the ending fell kind of flat.
Emilee Powell
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
OMG Gina, it's like if Justin decided to be a detective!
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glen-cook
As our heros comes and goes he faces some real hard core villians. A good plot with a bucket load of characters. A good read.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun. Fast-paced. Hilarious. Twisty. Sharp. I loved it!
Michael Brown
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: series-reading
A fun series that I caught some later books in and am now catching up. A bit of detective mystery - fantasy adventure combo. Good characters and balanced humor and suspense.
Ella R.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wow, this book is sexist.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good, interesting change from book ones mockery and fun to this more serious and cold story. Good hardboiled noir, not much of a ladyluck person, but good solid case in here.
S. D. Howarth
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Offbeat fantasy comfort reading at it's best. All story/character driven with only light world-building which makes for a quick read.
Scott Waldie
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Better written than the first Garrett entry while simultaneously a less interesting story. The returning characters are great but the new folks involved with this kidnapping case are beyond obnoxious. Also, while in true noir fashion, I'm hoping Garrett doesn't have to get involved with almost every attractive female presented through the later books in the series. It gets old even if it's in character for him. However this book also gets credit for expanding the TunFaire mythology.
Larry Wentzel
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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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

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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