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The Sword-Edged Blonde (Eddie LaCrosse #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,081 Ratings  ·  306 Reviews
It should have been a case like any other: a missing princess, a king willing to pay in gold for her return. But before he realizes it, private investigator Eddie LaCrosse, a slightly shopworn sword jockey with a talent for discretion and detection, is swept up in a web of mystery and deceit involving a brutally murdered royal heir, a queen accused of an unspeakable crime ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Night Shade Books
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In the medieval kingdom of Arentia, Queen Rhiannon has been charged with a particularly horrific case of infanticide. King Philip desperately believes in his wife's innocence, despite all evidence to the contrary. His only hope? Eddie LaCrosse, the tough as nails sword-for-hire investigator and the king's childhood friend. Having spent years trying to outrun his past, LaCrosse begrudgingly returns home and is forced to confront his demons while trying to unravel the mystery of whether or not the ...more
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people in a tolerant mood for noir and light fantasy

from my blog at

Well, that was a surprise.


by Justin Sweet

(Cover) + (title) = Pass. Except that too many book-world friends read and enjoyed it, so I thought it was worth a try. Still, I cringed: this is a cover made for the e-reader. You know, the picture you don’t want any of your friends to see, because then they’d ask the obvious, and you’d have to explain how the blonde woman with the large bosom and missing legs was witnessing three mysterious men wit
Megan Baxter
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have been reading a lot of fantasy recently, and so much of it has just blended together in my mind. There's a fair amount out there that is good, but much of a sameness with everything else that's out there. There are relatively few distinctive voices.

So, when this fantasy-crossed-with-noir popped up, I was more than ready to read it.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the me
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tfitoby by: Megan Baxter
The Sword Edged Blonde is hardboiled noir in a fantasy world. Only it's not that hardboiled really and the fantasy is minimal. It's pretty great stuff all the same. I hear the word fantasy when referring to a novel and I immediately hit the panic button, visions of pages full of filler descriptions, epic quests that involve dragons and wizards and protagonists with 4 d's and 7 apostrophes in their name unfold before me and groans escape from my lips. With his debut novel Bledsoe seemingly reject ...more
Dec 18, 2008 rated it liked it
I was writing my review as I read this book, and prepared to recommend it with some caveats, when in the last ten pages, the author pulled out something that pissed me off so badly I would very much like to mail him a half-pound of dead catfish by surface mail in August. I'm giving it three stars, because it's good writing, and perhaps it deserves four, but I'm just not capable of that kind of magnanimity.

First, in its favour, the book is a good example of the noire detective story in a fantasy
I had no expectations at all when I downloaded this book. I only did it because one of my groups was reading it, and a fellow member chose it, so I thought I would support him. I am glad I did.

It is a mash-up of something old and worn -- a couple of things that are old and worn, actually -- with a little of the new and kitschy. It's a bit of low brow hack and slash Fantasy fun with a kooky Goddess at its heart; it's a pretty straight forward Detective Noire -- including the requisite smart mout
4.5 stars. Excellent debut novel. Great noir, fantasy story set in a fully realized fantasy setting. With as many fantasy novels as are out there, it is really nice to find a well written story that does not fit neatly in the familiar mold. This certainly fits that description. The second novel in this series is out and I look foward to reading it. Recommended.
I originally started reading this as something light to read in between heavy, dark, deep books. But then I found that I just couldn't put it down and had to keep going til it was over.

A brilliant blend of medieval fantasy and noir detective this book really hit the right marks for me. The witty, self-deprecating, flawed and human detective/swordsman was such a great main character I easily fell behind him. The main story, while predictable, was entertaining and gripping the whole way though.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon


Ok, for most of the book I'd say it was probably a 2-star read. It wasn't great, but it was an ok read. But it had it's issues.

One thing that was kinda cool was the use of Epona and Rhiannon. A fun fact that not everyone might know:

Epona is the name of the (view spoiler) and Rhiannon is (view spoiler)

Also the whole (view spoiler)
Jacob Proffitt
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorite
What a fantastic book! A friend recommended this to me because he knows I like the Garrett novels by Glen Cook—i.e. hardboiled detective in a fantasy setting. And that's a good description of this book as well, though it isn't really that similar to Cook's novels in anything more than a basic tone.

Eddie LaCrosse is a middle-aged sword jockey known for both his skill at arms and his intelligence (oh, and discretion). If you need someone to poke into dark holes that might poke back, he's your man
Feb 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-fan-group
3.5 stars.

So, when I was asked to make the "member's selection" for April 2012 in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Group, I decided that I wanted to find something different from the standard fare. Something that was accessible as well, and it would be nice if it was actually good.

I had recently read The Hum and the Shiver by the author and found it to be an excellent book. It hit all the requirements I was looking for, actually. It had been recommended to me by Ala, another member of the above mentioned grou
Mike (the Paladin)
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was an odd book. I had never read anything by Bledsoe before...I gather there are a couple of other books. What he goes for here is sort of cross between sword and sorcery fantasy and hard boiled detective fiction. He does a pretty good job to. I vacillated on how high to rate this one and finally settled on 4 stars. While it can run hot and cold and at times the "suspension of reality" bit runs awfully close to silliness, it's over all a good read. Picture Sam Spade or Philip Marlow with a ...more
I have no idea what the title had to do with the story...
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012
This was a fun and quick read, quite different from most other fantasy that I've come across. It's basically a combination of traditional fantasy elements (kings and queens and swords and stuff like that) with an urban fantasy type writing style and paranormal detective type plot. If that sounds awkward... It totally wasn't. It worked. It wasn't perfect; there were some weird little inconsistencies, and some story points that were a little too happily-ever-after for me, not to mention a lot of r ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fantasy
Well, I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to listen to this. All I knew was that it was written by Alex Bledsoe. I should have known that would be enough.

It's a strange fusion of hard-edged fantasy noir. It's a fantasy setting featuring a private investigator with a noble past he's trying to forget about. There were allusions to fairy and fae, and a "goddess" with what could be considered magic, but essentially this was a detective story.

A very good detective story. I'm going to listen
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2009-reads
Imagine a fantasy set in a Western European medieval style world complete with castles and monasteries. Let us not forget the hamlets and towns surrounded by large walls. You travel by foot, horse, cart and boat. Weapon of choice: Sword, dagger, bow, crossbow, spear and lance. Different religions, beliefs and myths are sprinkled across the land like so much dust and the political situation is best described as Kleinstaaterei.......
Read my full Review: The Sword-Edged Blonde
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, royalty
Maria V. Snyder
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I met Alex this past weekend at Context 25 - he was the author guest of honor. We chatted quite a bit and he's a nice guy with a sense of humor so I figured I'd read his first book. I'm 3 chapters and so far, I'm interested :)

I finished this a couple nights ago. The plot was intriguing and kept me reading. The main character was likable and not one of those perfect guys - in fact he did some really stupid things and was rescued a lot. This was Alex's debut novel and it had all the problems of a
Apr 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
What the hell? Why all the good ratings/reviews? This book was a complete waste of time, although at least I borrowed it from the library so it wasn't also a waste of money. It's basically a mediocre at best noir-ish detective story with a fantasy overlay slapped on. And by slapped on, I mean, changing the word "gun" to "sword" but not reconsidering or reworking anything of substance. The writing was lazy, the plotting was lazy, and the characterization nearly nonexistent. Every few pages someth ...more
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Serviceable but nowhere near brilliant swords and (a little) sorcery noir. Good: taut plot and pacing, nice world-weary tone, and a thankfully light touch on the violence (Bledsoe doesn't seem to be fascinated by cruelty and perversion, nor assume that his readers are, unlike many noir authors). Bad: no real sense of place or culture, minimal complexity, and superficial typecast characters (especially the women). To sum it up: Bledsoe seems to be very much in the Dan Brown tradition -- generatin ...more
Deborah Blake
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. To begin with, the premise is insanely clever: a blend of Noir detective fiction and sword and sorcery fantasy. Sound impossible? It should be, but author Alex Bledsoe pulls it off, with a sharp sense of humor thrown in as a bonus. I can't wait for the next one.
Melissa McShane
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm glad this was recommended to me, because I don't think I'd have picked it up on my own. Eddie LaCrosse is an adventurer, a former mercenary, and even more former Baron in one of the many kingdoms littering the unnamed continent. Now he's a private eye in the tradition of Glen Cook's Garrett novels--not so much a detective as an enforcer, someone you go to to recover property, find missing persons, and basically solve delicate problems. A summons from his old best friend Phil (King Philip to ...more
Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I picked up Alex Bledsoe's The Sword-Edged Blonde because it had just been released on audiobook and I was looking for something short, different, and fun. The Sword-Edged Blonde was exactly what I needed.

Eddie LaCrosse used to be a rich kid, but a tragic event drove him away from his past life and now he's a loner. He works as a detective, and he's really good at it. So, his old best friend, King Phil, hires him to solve a murder. Eddie soon realizes that
Olga Godim
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book – quite unexpectedly. Its cover art is atrocious, probably the worst I’ve ever seen in fantasy fiction, and I’d never have picked it up if not for Mike’s review here on GR.
The story is a blend of an old-fashioned mystery and a swashbuckling sword and sorcery adventure. And the hero is the one to match: a private detective Eddie LaCrosse, gruff, middle aged and slightly overweight, who lives in a vaguely medieval fantasy town. If you transplanted Sam Spade into a fantasy tale – h
Kylara Jensen
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't know why I thought this would be grimdark.

I was expecting gritty fantasy noir with a dark angsty guilt-driven main lead.

Instead, I got a really entertaining fantasy noir with a pragmatic (still guilt-driven but it doesn't show) main lead.

I loved the world. It's fantasy but it doesn't try too hard to be high fantasy. In fact, sprinkled throughout the book there are real-world sayings that have been fantasy-ized. Like That's been swept under the tapestry instead of swept under the rug. It
**edited 02/02/14

Eddie LaCrosse has been on the run from his past for years, slumming it in backwater towns and trying--mainly unsuccessfully--to make a reasonably ethical living as a private detective and sword for hire. However, when an old friend, King Phil, seeks him out, Eddie travels back to his old kingdom to help. Phil is certainly in need of assistance: his beautiful wife Rhiannon has been accused of murdering their young son, and as she was caught literally red-handed, there seems
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a refreshing read. The protagonist is man of many talents and experiences in a medieval world. He is a private-eye in the age of kings, knights, and some magic. Though, he is rather skeptical about the magic, he keeps on encountering and rationalizing strange events, with a great sense of humor. Though the kind of action and humor is definitely different, the events and characters in the story have some resemblance to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Barry Hughart's Chronicles of Master ...more
Tim Hicks
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Four stars don't mean that this is a classic or anything. I'm giving it four within its genre; it isn't claiming to be any more than what it is.
Someone mentioned Vlad Taltos. No, it isn't that good, but it's a worthwhile read.

Ignore the cover art; it's ridiculous.

Good plot, mostly, and Eddie's a complex and interesting character. Bledsoe may not be able to use the relationship with the king in a future novel, though. Makes it too easy.

Someone else commented that this book's treatment of wome
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Every time I went to put the book down, be darned if the chapter didn't end on a cliffhanger! There are a few inconsistencies; should a sword and sorcery barmaid be wearing a name tag? But all things considered, I was drawn to the character and found it hard to leave the story. In truth, I read the whole thing in a day. How many detective stories can dig their claws that deeply into you?

I'll happily read the sequel!
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: night_shade-own
Funny mixed genre volume that reads quickly.
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Sword-Edged Blonde - What Kind of Fantasy is This? 10 88 May 31, 2012 07:40AM  
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I grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (home of Tina Turner). I've been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. I now live in a big yellow house in Wisconsin, write before six in the morning and try to teach my three kids to act like they've been to town before.

I write the Tufa novels (The Hum and t
More about Alex Bledsoe

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