Hot Lead, Cold Iron

An Atomic Moo Book Review


Now out, through Titan books, is an original new paperback novel that melds fantasy and hard boiled pulp fiction. Written by veteran RPG and fantasy author, Ari Marmell, Hot Lead, Cold Iron is the first in a series of Mick Oberon novels about a fae gumshoe solving magical mysteries in prohibition era Chicago. Here’s the full synopsis:

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 extra weird. A mobster’s daughter was kidnapped sixteen years ago, replaced with a changeling, and Mick’s been hired to find the real child. The trail’s gone cold, but what there is leads Sideways, to the world of the Fae, where the Seelie Court rules. And Mick’s not really welcome in the Seelie Court any more. He’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper–and of course it’s the last person he expected.

My experience reading Hot Lead, Cold Iron was unexpectedly fun. I say that, because normally I don’t go looking for stories about fairies (Fae). However; Ari Marmell’s new urban fantasy is full of humor and action. Narrated by the milk chugging private detective, Mick Oberon (a quick witted smart ass – armed with 1930’s lingo), readers get a story where magic isn’t all about lightning and fireballs. Mick uses luck, fortune, charms, and (instead of snub nose revolver) he has a magic wand holstered under his left arm pit. Not necessarily a lethal weapon, but an excellent tool for getting the job done.

Hot Lead, Cold Iron also shows Marmell’s talent for crafting vivid magical worlds. I enjoyed his choice of placing Mick in 1930’s Chicago. By this time prohibition is wrapping up and the depression is in full swing. This gritty reality juxtaposed nicely with Mick’s own (fae) world; full of magic, swords, and monsters. Not that the fae world isn’t trying to catch up. The fae just have a nice, round about, way of mimicking human innovation.

Overall, readers will enjoy this imaginative take on old pulp fiction. The novel never slows down and it’s provides a real “who dunnit” to a very cold case mystery. Hot Lead, Cold Iron also provides with just enough cliffhangers to keep readers interested in Mick’s next adventure.

Hot Lead, Cold Iron is available now in all major books stores, or you can get your copy online at!

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  1. I think I’ll buy this one. I’m currently playing in a scratch-built RPG set in a Prohibition-era Chicago, with Shadowrun races and magic.

    Any way I can hat-tip Atomic Moo when I buy?

    • Mister Trog

      08/15/2014 at 6:49 pm

      I guess that’s better than trying to “cow-tip” Atomic Moo… nyuck nyuck nyuck…

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