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

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  913 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Blending traditional mystery, fantasy, and humor, Resnick tells of a down-and-out private eye hired by an elf to find a missing unicorn. The search leads through a magical Manhattan inhabited by gnomes, catwomen, and a powerful demon who seeks the unicorn as well. Enormous fun.--Science Fiction Chronicle.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 1990 by Tor Books (first published January 1987)
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ᴥ Irena ᴥ
I had fun reading this story. It didn't grab my attention as I thought it would but it was fun nevertheless. Actually, it was near perfect until near the end.
When you first meet the protagonist, Private Detective John Justin Mallory, you find out that the mob is after him (well, after his double-crossing wife-stealing partner, but they don't know that), his wife left him and he is broke. The thing I loved the most since any mention of cheating in any kind of book ruins the story for me is that
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)
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
graveyardgremlin (formerly faeriemyst)
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
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
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
Apr 19, 2013 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
DeAnna Knippling
Jul 31, 2011 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
Clay Rylee
Sep 25, 2012 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.
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Titel der deutschen Erstausgabe: "Einhornpirsch"

Originaltitel: "Stalking the Unicorn: A Fable of Tonight" John Justin Mallory Mystery #1
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review here:

While I ended up liking the book, it does come off a bit like what would happen is Dashiell Hammett had written The Phantom Tollbooth.
Emily McIntyre
Forgettable, or worse. First sentence got me off on the wrong foot; second confirmed.
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
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
Mike Kazmierczak
Sep 07, 2012 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
Dec 11, 2008 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
Nov 07, 2009 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
Oct 10, 2012 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
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
Jan 17, 2016 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
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Kelli Lee
Dec 08, 2010 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
Jul 25, 2008 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
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
Simon Goodson
Jan 28, 2013 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 21, 2012 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
Nov 01, 2012 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
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 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it, it's a fun read, lot's of quirky ideas - and once or twice I wondered if that book did not stand parent for the "Night at the Museum" script. But Resnick is hit and miss with me, and the novel shows his weakness to write compelling dialogue, so that everytime it hit a longer dialogue passage the book slowed down for me; still, good work on bringing what at first reads like a disjointed jumble of crazy ideas neatly together at the end.

It's easily among the better humerous works, and i
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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)
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