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Sweet Silver Blues

(Garrett Files #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,188 ratings  ·  302 reviews
It should have been a simple job. But for Garrett, a human detective in a world of gnomes, tracking down the woman to whom his dead pal Danny left a fortune in silver is no slight task. Even with the aid of Morley, the toughest half-elf around, Garrett isn't sure he'll make it out alive from a land where magic can be murder, the dead still talk, and vampires are always hun ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 1990 by Roc (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  5,188 ratings  ·  302 reviews

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Start your review of Sweet Silver Blues (Garrett P.I., #1)

My apologies to the legion of Dresdenites who may be about to burn me in effigy...but Garrett's files are far more entertaining to peruse than those of Jim Butcher's more famous creation. And while I enjoy many aspects of the Dresden stories, Harry himself annoys the bejesus outta me and taints my happy when I read them.

I had SO MUCH MORE FUN with this story and this character.

Garrett is a hard-boiled, freelance Private Investigator in a world in which humans live and work alongside a vari
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What do you get if you take the quintessential P.I. Philip Marlowe (and if you have no idea who he is shame on you) and transfer him to a typical fantasy land? Almost typical. Garrett P.I. series by Glen Cook, that is what.
Philip Marlowe

One fine morning Garrett was busy doing what all self-respected private eyes do in the morning: suffering from a hangover.
"Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day."
Suddenly a band of gnomes barged in and because they repres
Apr 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of genre mash-ups, fantasy parody
It's likely a sign of aging, but my brain kept distracting me with that song from the nursery rhyme about mares eat oats and does eat oats.

Mares eat oats and does eat oats,
And little lambs eat ivy

The song slurs it all together:

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

So every time P.I. Garrett's sidekick Morley Dotes appeared, a half-elf notorious for his fighting and gambling, I found myself starting to rhyme, clearly making it impossible to view hi
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I finished it and loved it!!! It reads like a cross between Chandler and Pratchett! Add Cook's native awesomeness and you can't go wrong with Garrett P. I. ❤️1 ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
🕵️ Sleuthing Mercenaries R Us Buddy Read (SMRUBR™) with (view spoiler) the MacHalos and stuff 🕵️

Sam Spade meets goblins and gnomes and vampires, oh my! And courtesy of God Glen Cook, too! What more can you ask for, I wonder? Not bloody fishing much, methinks. (Apart from a couple of juicy newborn babies to sacrifice and a bucket glass of single malt scotch
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
I definitely enjoyed this book, my first read by Mr. Glen Cook, and the first of many, I think. This series is a scrumptious idea: hard-boiled noir detective with faerie creature-infused fantasy, the setting not quite urban, and not quite traditional fantasy. Mr. Cook has made his own world here, and it's a fun world. I must admit that I was a bit confused at times. The characters speak in a 'cant' that took me to some time to get the hang of. Sort of like 40s movie speak, but unique to this sto ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
A detective novel based in a fantasy world with a tough guy who is also a wise guy. Add to that an author who has always had the ability to convey humor in the most awful of battle situations (see the Black Company novels), and this looked like a great read. In all honestly, it was a good book. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that doesn't really like detective stories whether they are based in real life, 19th century London (see Sherlock Holmes), or fantasy worlds. So don't let the 2 sta ...more
The Shayne-Train
DNF'ing at 65%.

I tried, really I did. I should have loved this. I'm into mystery/noir, I'm into fantasy, and I'm highly into the cross-genre mash-up of them both. Plus, I'm a big fan of Glen Cook from his Chronicles of the Black Company books. So wtf happened?

It just didn't......grab me. The world-building was pretty slick, and it had the banter down pat, but....meh. Just meh.

Maybe because I've read some pretty amazing noir and some pretty amazing fantasy over the past few months, and my delight
I had a hard time deciding what I thought about this one. I really wanted to like it. Originally published in 1987, it's one of the earlier examples of urban fantasy, and that says a lot in itself. Although according to the Wikipedia the genre was officially acknowledged in the late 80s, I feel the late 90s is when it really came into its own, and it is still extraordinarily popular, especially with women (as evidenced by all the urban paranormal romance series out there). So I give him props fo ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
My first foray into the world of Glen Cook, and this one dates from 1987 but it's chock full of paranormal critters, summed up here as "breeds," and some of them are surprisingly new to me. I wonder why I don't see more of them in the literature.

For example, there's the loghyr (and how do you pronounce that?)--a telepathic corpse with an attitude. The loghyr died several hundred years ago, but loghyrs decompose very slowly. Our first-person narrator, Garrett P.I., calls him the Dead Man and vis
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I went into this book not only hoping, but expecting, that I would like it. I liked the idea of the noir-style detective story in the fantasy setting, and the notion of it being different from most urban fantasy's in that it's set in a fantasy world as opposed to our own. Plus it came recommended.

But it just didn't work for me. The characters never clicked for me - I was never invested in them and didn't particularly care about either the outcome or the story or what happened to our erstwhile he
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dresden Files/ Nightside fans
**edited 12/15/13

In any reasonably thorough exploration of the space of Urban Fantasy, the bizarre combination of hardboiled noir detective stories and fantasy, Glen Cook's Garrett, PI series is definitely a necessary read. From my understanding, Garrett is one of the first urban fantasies written. It certainly is a landmark in the genre.

One of the things I loved most about the story was the world. Garrett's world is significantly more creative than the UF norm: a low-fantasy merging of our worl
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining fantasy adventure

Garrett is an entertaining character with enough humor to keep things interesting. He surrounds himself with colorful, original friends and colleagues, including a dead guy, making a job to find an heir of a friend, into a really frightening fun adventure.
Michael Hall
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This turned out to be a very fun book to read despite my initial thought that the circumstances seemed a bit contrived and overblown. It also suffers from maybe a little too much detail and far too many names at once for a first time visitor to this world. It does take a few chapters to grow on you, but once it does it becomes a very engaging noir-detective story set in a fantasy (urban) world of continous war, entrigue, supernatural, and a wide range of humanoid life. Somewhere in the middle of ...more
Assaph Mehr
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
As a lover of fantasy and detectives I've long had Glen Cook's Garrett Files on my TBR. This review is for the first in the series, but I expect to read through it this year.

What to Expect

A private detective of sorts, set in an interesting fantasy world. The tone isn't quite a noir gumshoe, a bit more of an adventurous thriller, but fits quite comfortably with genre tropes. The setting has the usual fantasy tropes of not-really medieval urban scenes, but interesting takes on races and mixed-race
“I have a little trouble with my temper, especially when I have a hangover. I was halfway to the door with two feet of lead-weighted truncheon before sense penetrated the scrambled yolk.”

Mickey Spillane meets Terry Pratchett. Not sure who Cook was sending up, but the result is a funny, way-over-the-top fantasy-noir. Well written.

“I’m just trying to do right by my son. Trying to carry out his last wishes.”
“We’ll put up a statue. When does the clam open up? Or do I go home and finish sleeping off
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I had to force myself to finish this book. At times I was bored. At times I was confused. At times I was irritated. I found very little of the book engaging.

I should have loved this book. It was a noir style detective novel set in an urban fantasy world. Urban fantasy is my favorite genre. While it's been awhile, I remember thoroughly enjoying my Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe phase. (Although, I'm afraid if I re-read them now I'll find them terriby sexist. On the other hand, they can't be worse than
Heather Elroy
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olga Godim
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
A hardboiled detective story in a fantasy world.

Garrett, a human PI in a world filled with elves, centaurs, gnomes and other assorted non-humans, is hired to find a beneficiary of his late buddy Denny. Denny left a fortune in silver to a woman no one in Denny’s family has ever seen. The search leads Garrett to confrontations with spies and vampires, as several conspiracies interlock and explode in his face. Corpses pile up, but of course, as the novel is the first in a successful series, Ga
Dennis Hearon
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Let me preface this review by stating that I am a BIG fan of Cook's Black Company series and, as such, am predisposed to like Cook's work. Additionally, as a member of THE privileged class (i.e. a male, college educated, white, anglo/saxon, protestant with a middle class upbringing) I don't react with as much rancor to sexist characters as immediately, or as strongly, as someone who has battled the system to prove their merit in a world where the cards are stacked against them. I also must point ...more
Aaron Singleton
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
SSB is the first installment of Glen Cook's Garrett series. Garrett is a "Confidential Agent" in a fantasy world inhabited by elves, gnomes, trolls, vampires, sorcerers, you name it. The entire series is like American P.I./hard-boiled detective fic combined with fantasy. When I first read the description I thought: "This is not for me." It sounded hokey. I am not into fantasy with elves, dwarves and the like.

But dammit, these books are great.

This book, as with all in the series, is told in fir
Lolly's Library
I actually stopped "reading" this about a third of the way in and skimmed through the rest of the book. The story just lost my interest. Not to mention it was overly convoluted, with names and places and people flying this way and that. I get that the author was trying to develop some sort of conspiracy, but it felt awkward and forced. There was just too much stuff. Perhaps I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind. When I started the book, I was reminded strongly of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files ...more
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh, boy. I can't say how awesome I thought this book was. As an opening drum-roll, it works very well. Introducing characters in a way that lets them live in the history they have together seems to be a specialty for this author. The only thing I can't decide is which character is my favorite. Is it Garrett, who can slug it out with Saucerhead Tharpe just before talking dirty-lawyer speak? Or Morley, who could charm the pants (literally) off just about any woman and still manage to nag Garrett a ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I probably didn't do this book any favours in the way I read it (battered old pb which I read in bits and pieces, as for example, while brushing my teeth), but also never quite got over the OTT-for-my-liking "hardboiled" attitudes to the female characters in the book. This started with Rose, who consistently "needed" a spanking (and got one), and who apparently justified the need by threatening Garrett that she'd claim he raped her if he didn't do what she wanted him to. Pity, because I enjoyed ...more
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Re-read, read this back in the late 80's. A hard boiled mystery that's a cross between epic fantasy, Nero Wolfe and the The Big Sleep , right down to the father client with the two wild girls. Garrett's Wolfe is a dead man and not as interested in food and flowers as sleep. I have to agree with another reviewer here that I find Garrett much more entertaining then Harry Dresden. ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Entertaining. Tough detective running around with a couple of grolls, a dark elf and a centaur to find a dame.
Vampires, army clashes and silver play a big part in this crazy adventure. Tough for me to follow at times, as there are a lot of agendas in this book, but it was enjoyable, looking forward to the next one, I like Garrett's voice and the characters.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply entertaining, delightfully engrossing, and all around fun.

The Black Company was my entry to Glen Cook's writing style, and this book is more of the same, but with the 'fun' turned up. Spare, wry, and cynical, we follow a case that maybe spirals out a bit more than expected, and maybe has some leaps that don't quite follow, but we can chalk it up to a world conceit and move on.

Cook is very much a fan of just throwing the reader into his worlds, and this book is no different. What does this
P.H. Solomon
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very creative

A PI fantasy with a lot of different elements present. Good fun and entertaining throughout the entire book. Excellent, inventive writing.
Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)


*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***

Sweet Silver Blues by Glen Cook is the first of the Garrett, P.I., novels set in Cook's pseudo-urban/traditional fantasy world. Glen Cook is perhaps best known for The Black Company series. Unfortunately, Sweet Silver Blues follows in that series' knack for introducing confusion and leading the reader on such a herky-jerky path that it's nearly impossible to see how one dot is connected to another.

That being said, i
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had my reservations about this book from a few pages in as I mistakenly thought I was buying into an urban fantasy, rather than what this really is which is a PI novel set in a high fantasy world, however this reservation ended up being unfounded, I enjoyed reading about the trials of Garret who seemed cool under pressure even when the crap hit the fan, the remaining cast were all lively and complemented the main characters weakness's well, while a couple of the jumps in logic seemed to pass m ...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)
  • Bitter Gold Hearts (Garrett P.I., #2)
  • 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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