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Hot Lead, Cold Iron

(Mick Oberon #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,416 ratings  ·  181 reviews
Hot Lead, Cold Iron is the first novel in a brand-new fantasy detective series that will appeal to fans of Rivers of London and The Dresden Files 

Chicago, 1932. Mick Oberon may look like just another private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he's got pointy ears and he's packing a wand. 

Oberon's used to solving supernatural crimes, but the latest one's ex
Paperback, 315 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Titan Books
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  1,416 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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Hard-boiled detective + the Fae = an interesting first book.

When I ran across this title in my public library’s catalog, I was intrigued. Those of you who read my reviews regularly will know that I am a sucker for books that feature Fae characters. I love them! Plus, I am an enormous fan of Raymond Chandler, so this combo was irresistible.

I enjoyed Marmell’s take on the Fae. Mick Oberon (yes, he’s related to THAT Oberon) has a penchant for milk, cream when he’s needs something a bit stronger. He
Jeff Salyards
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
A book like this--film noir to the hilt, urban fantasy, set in 1930s Chicago--depends on the voice, the strength of the narrator, as much as the premise or the bells and whistles of the setting. If the voice falls flat, or the narrator isn't intriguing, none of the rest much matters, no matter how interesting. And Mick Oberon makes a compelling and engaging narrator, so I was hooked. There are echoes or homages to other fiction out there (which is, let's face it, true of almost everything), but ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I really enjoyed this book. The setting in 1920's Chicago was a refreshing change of pace for an urban fantasy. I liked how the author used historical figures (not as characters, but as reference points), and period slang to make the setting feel authentic, and not an idealized version of the times. The Otherworld was interesting too, and I like the nature of the relationship the fairies have with humans, and the human realm. It's a slightly different spin, but fits a lot of the old mythology we ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This book is a fun ride. It stands apart from other urban fantasy series from first being set in the 30s, and second from its noir roots.

Inevitably the comparison to the Dresden Files will come so let's put that to bed. There is some: both are PIs in Chicago and have magic. Any other similarities are because both pull from the genres of Urban Fantasy and Noir. And let me tell you, Hot Lead is so pure detective Noir you could set it on fire and the ashes would spell out Mike Hammer and Sam Spade.
The gumshoe in urban fantasy. Its a magical partnership when done well. Ari Marmell is trying to tap into the Dresden files fan base with his new elf gumshoe mystery, and he almost gets it totally right. Hot Lead, Cold Iron is a good read, with a great setting, mafia and gangsters and some great villains, but there were a couple of things that just annoyed me.

Mick Oberon is the gumshoe in question. The setting is 1930s Chicago, a world full of gangsters. Obernon, an elf prince, has left his aes
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Hot Lead Cold Iron is the first volume in the Mick Oberon chronicles, however it isn’t Mick's first appearance. That honour goes to the short story “The Purloined Ledger” which appeared in Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales in the Roaring '20s, a little over three years ago.

This story however does a fantastic job of introducing us to private detective Mick Oberon who lives in 1930s Chicago and does a bang-up job reminding the readers of
Good mystery/urban fantasy series set in 1930s Chicago about private investigator (and member of the Fae) Mick Oberon. He tries to avoid mob-related jobs, but...
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

Mick Oberon is a Chicago PI, but he’s no ordinary PI. His weapon of choice, in fact, is a magic wand (a Luchtaine & Goodfellow Model 1592, specifically), and he has a little magic of his own on top of that. In 1932 Chicago, one run by mobsters and their ilk, a little magic is a nice thing to have, but tussling with them isn’t Oberon’s favorite thing to do. However, his landlord is about to lose the building, and it’s the only place that Oberon has ever fel
Feb 18, 2018 added it
Fun. That's all you need to know. It's fun. ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
This is the way to start a series, I mean, wow. Mick Oberon is a P.I. in the rough and tumble days of late-Prohibition-era Chicago. He mixes with the mob, political figures,and other assorted low-lifes, while eking out a living, enough to afford milk, rent and the cheap suits he wears. He can take a beating like nobody's business, and packs a wand rather than rather than a gun. Oh yeah, and he's fae.

I've got a mental checklist that I use to evaluate a new (to me) Urban Fantasy: 1. Is there a st
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fairytale noir set in prohibition-era Chicago. Magical tommy guns that double as wands? Crazy amounts of period slang? Magic that doesn't break the world? A story that starts out fast and just keeps moving? Sign me up! Marmell has created a really memorable unique world and set a great story in it.

This is not a mystery - you don't get a series of clues that will allow you to deduce who dunnit. Rather, it's an adventure where Mick Oberon, self-exiled aes sidhe and PI, tells you how he found a mob
Jul 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
1930s detective noir, the Chicago Mob, & Fae, along with plenty of other supernatural creatures. Fast-paced thriller that marks a great new entry into the urban fantasy category. If you are looking for a Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe/Mike Hammer hard-boiled PI with the mystical powers of belonging to the Fae, this is a book not to miss.
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Wants to be Dresden. Isn't. ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading more of his stuff. It reminded me a little bit of The Vampire Files.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Fachiol
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a genuinely fun novel. The plot twists are clever, and paced expertly—rarely does the book seem to rush or drag, but tantalizingly beckon the reader forward. The world was an entertaining and seamless integration of mobster Chicago and the mystical Elphame, with descriptions and features that made me marvel at Marmell’s imagination.

As a narrator, Mick was entertaining and colorful. He’s a complex character who’s rough at the edges, and while doesn’t necessarily have that ‘heart of gold,
Therin Knite
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was really interested in reading this one due to the Depression-era Chicago setting, and that aspect of the book certainly didn't disappointment. The world-building was a lot more authentic than I expected, and I appreciated the amount of effort that went into making the setting feel legitimate.

That being said, I had a few issues:

1) While I understand the author's desire to make the era-appropriate jargon realistic, I think the narration was overwhelmed by Oberon's manner of speaking. To the
Sidhe Prankster
3 1/2 Stars. A hard-boiled detective narrative filled with both fantasy and humor, this was an enjoyable light read. Combining a 1940's detective story with a tale of otherworldly magic, Hot Lead, Cold Iron is certainly entertaining. The characters and dialogue feel right for the hard-boiled setting as well, not at all forced, and the mystery is admittedly intriguing.

Despite all of this, I can't say that the novel was stellar-- several times I lost interest, read something else, and then came b
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I like stories about the fae and I really enjoyed reading about them in a different setting than what I am used to. This was a very different setting for me!

This is set in 1930's Chicago and it is full of very amusing gangster slang, and many, many nods to black and white Private Detective shows. I liked how Oberon, the main character, "spoke" to the reader as if he was telling the story directly, things like "I should've know then," and "I'll get back to that in a minute." I liked that, it real
Rowena Hoseason
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
As far as urban fantasy goes, the concept for this new series of magical detectives couldn’t be better. Take the spiritual home of hardboiled pulp fiction – a hard-assed Chicago of the prohibition period, oozing with booze-dealing Italian gangsters and numbnuts thugs driving flivvers – and introduce that time-honoured reluctant hero, a jaded, hard-bitten private eye with a sharp line in snappy dialogue and a withering distaste for worldly weakness. Plonk him in a scruffy downtown basement office ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has generated some strong feelings in other Goodreads reviews. It was with that knowledge that I plunged ahead and acquired a copy. And, I am happy that I did, but you might not come to a similar conclusion.

Will you like the P.I. who is at the center of this story?
Mick is a detective just scraping by and, at times, having to work both sides of the street. As the book opens, he is in the midst of a brawl which happened after he was caught trying to get some information in a private of
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm not going to write an extensive review, because it has been a while since I finished this book, and over time books dribble out of my memory like an oil leak. However, I do still recall my overall impressions, so I might as well jot them down.

I have to admit, I am a sucker for noir - if it's done well. A hard-bitten, no-nonsense, tough-guy detective in a gritty, grey urban setting in the 1930's, 40's or 50's... I can't resist. Ari Marmell gets the tone and the attitude and the feel of it spo
Dr susan
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again
I wish that people did not think every urban fantasy with a male main character has to be compared to the Dresden Files. K.A. Stewart, Benedict Jacka, Ben Aaronovitch, Kevin Hearne, Elliott James, and now Ari Marmell (to name some of my favorites) deserve to be judged on their own merits.

I should admit I grew up reading the adventures of Simon Templar, the Toff, Ellery Queen, Solar Pons, and others who embodied or aspired to the hardboiled gumshoe genre. Hot Lead, Cold Iron brought back fond me
Kathy Martin
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this urban fantasy about a fae detective in Chicago in 1932. It is told in the first person by Mick Oberon who walked away from faerie for reasons he doesn't share with us and who is surviving in Chicago as a private investigator. The mobs are very busy in Chicago and Mick isn't completely excited to work for a mob wife. However, he needs money to save the building where he lives and the mob has the money.

Mick is hired by Bianca Ottati to find his daughter. Bianca has come to be
Gavin Gates
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
So, the king of the fairies is a player for the Chicago P.D. and is a pretty stroppy guy at that. From the set off with ‘Hot Lead’… you are pretty much thrown in the deep end and it keeps up right the way through. Marmell is a very well regarded writer to me through his work at Wizards of the coast and has proven himself top of the game in crime/fantasy crossover here too. Mick Oberon is one of the best written characters I’ve had the pleasure to discover in recent reading, from his dialect to m ...more
Justin Robinson
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Overwritten in spots, although the faithful and probably overly extreme recreation of the slang of the time was fun. Unfortunately, that did make a few of the anachronisms stand out more starkly. I got the impression the writer didn't quite trust his readers, what with every other word highlighted to make sure we emphasized the prose where he wanted. The melding of noir and urban fantasy was done completely straight, with nary a wink to the audience. The simple lack of postmodern irony was refre ...more
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding premise and book! I wish I could remember where I read about this book, but I am very glad I did. Fantasy, hard-boiled noir, set in the days of Prohibition and Capone. I admit to having Humphrey Bogart's voice narrating in my cranium as I read.
Mick Oberon is a PI of the best gritty kind. I love that Ari Marmell took the time to explain sayings and euphemisms in the beginning and fae pronunciations and mobster facts in the back.
If one needs a comparison, I'd compare Mick Oberon to
May 20, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. 30s PI who is also fae. Marmell uses the old slang, terms and way of speaking which takes a little getting used to, but it adds to the story feel. There are a few info dumps to explain the world, the fae world and our character. Lots of running around, getting beat up, magic slinging and a mean old witch. Mick is hired to do a job, find a changeling after 16 years and there are roadblocks everywhere he goes. In fact, a few of his actions trying to hurdle them will definitely spill int ...more
Pippa DaCosta
Mick Oberon may look like just another 1930s private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he's got pointy ears and he s packing a wand.

This series is a breath of fresh air for the UF genre. Set in 1930's Chicago it could have gone so very wrong, but the author deftly convinces us that our lead, PI Mick Oberon, is indeed, from that era. Mick is funny and kick-ass, to boot. He has a dry, downtrodden wit, that's an absolute joy to read.

Action, intrigue, snark, and utterly unique
Shalini Nemo
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was quite a fun read. Mick Oberon's quite likeable (if somewhat a cut-out), and the other characters range from dull to extremely interesting, like Eudeagh. Hope to see more of her, and also to see more of Elphaim, too.

I know nothing of 1930s Chicago (neither old nor American, heh), but I guess the writer did a good job of making the pulpy writing accessible.

I am leaving my guess here as to Mick's real identity, so I can say I called it later on (or not). (view spoiler)
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When Ari Marmell has free time left over between feeding cats and posting on social media, he writes a little bit. His work includes novels, short stories, role-playing games, and video games, all of which he enjoyed in lieu of school work when growing up. He’s the author of the Mick Oberon gangland/urban fantasy series, the Widdershins YA fantasy series, and many others, with publishers such as D ...more

Other books in the series

Mick Oberon (4 books)
  • Hallow Point (Mick Oberon, #2)
  • Dead to Rites (Mick Oberon, #3)
  • In Truth and Claw (Mick Oberon, #4)

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