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(The Carter Archives #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  127 reviews
This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

"Take a little Mickey Spillane, some Dashiell Hammet, a bit of Raymond Chandler, and mix it with Phillip K. Dick's Blade Runner; add a taste of CJ Box, and Craig Johnson, and you've got a masterpiece of a first novel." --W. Michael Gear, New York
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Daw Books
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Dan The question of how to handle crimes and offenders is definitely something I wanted to touch on, and I hope the book gets that across. Why are some pe…moreThe question of how to handle crimes and offenders is definitely something I wanted to touch on, and I hope the book gets that across. Why are some people punished for societal problems while others walk away, and when is it better to respond to unwanted behavior with threats versus support? Although the book is written from Carter's perspective, hopefully there's a sense that there's more than one correct approach, and that none of them is THE correct solution.
Thanks for reading!(less)

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Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I mean, c'mon... I wrote the thing. Did you really think I was going to give it less than five stars? ...more
Nathan Makaryk
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why read this review when you could be reading Titanshade instead? Are you perhaps unsure if this book is for you? How? Look at the cover. LOOK AT THE COVER. This cover tells you exactly what you're getting into. It's noir. It's pulp. It's a gritty cop drama where the lead detective's doing his best to stay sane in a dirty city hell-bent on eating itself alive. Oh and his partner has FACE MANDIBLES because it's also sci-fi - but not squeaky clean future scifi, no this is retro lowtech scifi. Thi ...more
Adah Udechukwu
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Titanshade has the right twists and turns that makes for a great thriller.
If you have been reading my reviews for any amount of time then you know that I swoon for eye catching covers and Titanshade’s cover is exactly the kind of cover to grab my interest. The story itself was such a clever piece of fiction that I could not set this book down once I started reading it. The setting for Titanshade was a gritty and seedy isolated metropolis with characters who are all just trying to get by. There are also those who have no problem stepping on the backs of others just to ...more
Jessica Rodrigues [decafJess]
[Okay, so, I'm basically a ray of sunshine, but every now and then I indulge in some good old fashioned violent noir, and it was about that time.]

I loved this book. Admittedly, it's just the sort of thing that I'm into, kind of a sci-fi/fantasy/noir kind of novel set in a world technologically similar to our own, but with some magic and a few other intelligent species in addition to humans.

It was the first chapter that really hooked me.

Carter, a seasoned detective with a sharp mind and bad h
Katherine Riley
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Titanshade is the most intensely imaginative detective novel I’ve ever read. Unrelenting in its pace, the plot packs a visceral wallop that keeps one reeling from the first page to the last. And yet it’s all about the voice; Stout is a master of dialogue, and his characters compel the reader ever deeper into Titanshade’s alternate universe.
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Carter's a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It's also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city's future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs. But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The
Andrea Rothman
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found Titanshade to be richly imaginative and superbly entertaining. The setting and the murder mystery hooked me from the beginning, but what I loved most about this novel is its very human protagonist, detective Carter, who has taken it upon himself to solve the horrific killing of a rich and influential squib (one of the several forms of humanoid amphibians that populate the rich and corrupt city of Titanshade). Carter’s desire to solve the crime is driven by his commitment to his professio ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A thoroughly fresh take on urban fantasy noir, with multilayered characters, sleazy and corrupt politicians, murder, magic and mayhem aplenty. In short, this story has a little of everything in just the right amounts.

My initial impression when I saw the cover of Titanshade was that it reminded me of the 80s movie Alien
What do you get when you mix alien murder, dark world building, a retro 70’s esthetic and elements of magic and science fiction? If you are lucky, you will be reading “Titanshade”, Dan Stout’s entertaining debut novel which combines politics, murder, aliens, magic and a charging plot in a boomtown city on the edge of catastrophe. It’s a mix of cop cars and dying magic, disco music and necromancy. And a great portrait of a cop who lives for the hunt and solving crimes. Stout’s gritty hero is Cart ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rating: ★★★★★

Thanks to DAW Books and the author for an advanced reading copy of Titanshade (The Carter Archives Book 1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

First impressions of Titanshade: OMG, BECKY. LOOK AT THAT COVER!

Really though, in all seriousness, it resembles a classic, gritty episode of Law and Order: SVU, but instead of a straight-shooter detective like Olivia Benson, you are left with (what appears to be) Nick Sa
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew this book was a perfect fit for me from the very first scene. Carter, our cynical narrator with a pitch-perfect noir voice, gets called to the most macabre crime scene of his career. Yes, the splattered gore of the frog-like murdered "squib" aren't exactly art gallery levels of eye-pleasing, but what really gets to Carter is the smell. Because squib blood, to certain humans, smells *delicious*. And soon Carter, already emotionally off kilter from the sickening crime, begins to have unwelc ...more
Felicia Grossman
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was AMAZING. It's the fabulous unique combination of an old-school procedural noir and scifi, but not super tech-y scifi, a sort of hard-boiled, Dick Tracy-like scifi. Carter, our hero, who has the best voice, who you can hear in your head the entire time, world builds through solving a crime, the murder of a squib, a frog-like species, scientist/diplomat, and its face past and the descriptions and settings and features of the world feels so natural and make so much sense.

The mystery e
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2019
This book is easily the most enjoyable noir novel I've read in a long time. It perfectly combines the grit and gristle of Dick Tracy with the alternate world, magical realism and biting satirical humor of THE DRESDEN FILES. You can't help but to root for our (unwilling) main characters--detectives thrown together, solving a splashy murder. They're the underdog, they don't always play by the rules, but they want to get the job done any way it takes. Stout peppers the writing with just the right a ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-2020
The Carter Archives are made for audio from Dan Stout’s writing style to the narration delivered by Mikael Naramore. If you love the Dresden Files, Law & Order or crime mystery cases, you’ll sink right into this urban fantasy where supernaturals live and work side by side with humans.

Eric Carter is a human homicide detective. He is great at his job, but a PR nightmare for the department. When a high profile Squib diplomat is murdered in his hotel room, they assign Carter to the case. However, Aj
Maxym Martineau
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're in the mood for a crime thriller with noir vibes set in a fantasy world, then Titanshade is right up your alley. Dan Stout has a way with words, creating descriptions of other-worldly characters that are so real and vivid I couldn't believe they weren't already walking around with us. The main character, Carter, is a cynical, middle-aged, human detective, and his voice is impeccable. The story is told through his perspective, and the political unraveling of the city are woven beautiful ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. OK - but not, and far from, great. A bit awkwardly written. (For ex: “[His] nostrils were flared and his jaw set.” Such bookese .... when do you look at someone and think their nostrils are flared, or jaw set - what does that even mean?) Seems like the author had the idea of a noir private dick / police procedural / urban fantasy (but not an actual / real city) mashup (which ideally wouldn’t be so obvious to me) but isn’t (yet, at least) a talented enough writer to write that in a sea ...more
Anne - Books of My Heart
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart
Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
3.5 hearts
Titanshade is  science fiction fantasy with a lot of mystery and thriller woven through the story. Our main guy is Eric Carter, a homicide detective, a human.  He's a basically good guy but he has the "annoy everyone until the bad guys try to kill you" method of investigation mastered. There were even good guys who wa
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations for this book based on the cover alone, and it delivered! White collar crime meets the gritty streets of Titanshade in this fantasy noir executed brilliantly.

Quiet social commentary, morally gray characters, and vivid descriptions make the world jump off the page, and the noir vibe is on-point.

If you like Dresden Files and other fantasy/crime overs, you'll love the super strong debut that is Titanshade!
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I actually did a double take to see what genres Goodreads had listed for this one. Going into it I expected a lot of sci-fi and mystery, and while I got that while reading it, I also saw tropes and elements consistent with fantasy and urban fantasy. Basically, I think Titanshade encompasses all of these genres and if you like mysteries and are looking at venturing into more sci-fi, like me, then definitely look no further.

Carter is a homicide cop in Titanshade, a strange town surviving on the oi
Eileen Hammond
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So good. Okay, get past the fact that the dapper folk have mandibles. And, seriously, forget how they eat their food. And, oh yeah, never have cinnamon again in your life. All that said, what a phenomenally incredibly well written ride. Good vs. evil in an entirely new way. Tantalizing new threads for a series. Loved it! It’s like a roller coaster. Just cover your eyes for the parts you need to!
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3.8/5

For a book that is part who-done-it Mystery/Thriller and part Urban Fantasy; this was really well done.

Usually, I find that books like this tend to commit more to one element at the expense of the other but that wasn't the case here.

Solid character development and a really interesting ending. I can't wait to dive into Book 2.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This sorta urban fantasy is more than a few degrees off from our world. Some things are like us but then there are several other races living with humans. There is disco and 8 track players and magic users that use a substance called manna to power their spells. Manna has run dry and the old in Titanshade is also running out. Wind power is coming thanks to the Squibs investment but not everyone wants to give up on the oil fields. Carter is cop that isn’t held to the highest regard in the departm ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love the meeting of noir detective / police procedural and fantasy. Who knew that it would be my kryptonite genre?

ETA: I did a re-read before starting the second. It was just as good as the first time around. The world is so fascinating.

ETA2: Yeah, I'm reading again before the third comes out. I fucking love this series and this world.
Julia Phillips
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This debut is wild, WI-LD, gritty noir sci-fi magic murder detective wildness, and I loved every single page. The kind of book that pulls you away from eating/sleeping/living because you just want to keep reading more.
Realms & Robots
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Titanshade is a brilliantly wound novel that pairs a hard-hitting detective with a slew of murders amidst a shady city. There’s danger and intrigue aplenty, mixed with the intensity of a high caliber police drama. Nobody is who they seem to be and as the murders continue to pile up, the stakes become that much higher. With compelling characters and a fascinating use of magic, Titanshade is a thrilling read for fans of murder mysteries, fantasy novels with modern settings, and science fiction ali ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've just read a few excellent reviews here. I'm nevertheless going to write this one as though you haven't also read them already. Parts of it are different or additional, I promise.

Stout's acknowledgments say that it's okay to judge this one by its cover, which pleases, because that's exactly what I did. I hoped the unsettling, plausible detail of the non-human on Chris McGrath's cover reflected the contents. It does.

This is a hard-boiled noir urban-fantasy SF police-procedural. And beyond bel
It's a rare treat when fantasy authors nail a cross-genre mystery - too often they rely on noir tropes such as femme fatales and hardboiled gumshoes. Not so Titanshade. Dan Stout has written a compelling fantasy noir, a story with shades of Ellroy, Hammett, Chinatown and There Will Be Blood.

Set in the oil boomtown of Titanshade, the books follow the homicide investigations of Carter, a classic jaded cop with a heart of gold. He’s partnered with a fresh recruit – a Mollenkampi named Ajax. And in
3.5 stars

I am NOT a visual kind of reader. Authors can describe a person's look, from his black hair, blue eyes, strong jaw, et cetera, and I still cannot imagine it in my head. So I admit, that this MARVELOUS cover by the amazing Chris McGrath is what drew me in to the book. It also helps to get the feel of the creatures living at Titanshade (oh the blurb also helps me).

This is a nice urban fantasy cop book.It navigates between murder investigation, political play, a bit history about Titanshad
Reese Hogan
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m not much of a murder mystery or buddy cop sort of reader, but I decided to pick up Titanshade because of its unique and intriguing cover. While it does have some alien creatures and a divine way of speaking to the dead, the plot was surprisingly light on magic and sci fi elements. That being said, I fell for this book hard right from the get-go. It’s extremely well-written, with a fantastic POV character who’s impossible not to love, and his awesome partner, a fresh-out-of-college cop who’s ...more
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Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes noir with a twist of magic and a disco chaser.

His tales of murder, mystery, and speculative fiction draw on travels around the world as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller.

Dan's work has appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and the Stonecoast Review. He i

Other books in the series

The Carter Archives (3 books)
  • Titan's Day
  • Titan Song (The Carter Archives, #3)

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