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Harlie’s review will be posted this afternoon. Sorry. This book is sooo good. 🙂
Greater Treasures by Karina Fabian
Part of the DragonEye series of novels and stories
Being a private detective in the border town of the Faerie and Mundane worlds isn’t easy, even for a dragon like Vern. Still, finding the wayward brother of a teary damsel in distress shouldn’t have gotten so dangerous. When his partner, Sister Grace, gets poisoned by a dart meant for him, Vern offers to find an artifact in exchange for a cure. However, this is no ordinary trinket—with a little magic power, it could control all of mankind. Can Vern find the artifact, and will he sacrifice the fate of two worlds for the life of his best friend?
Keywords: dragons, mystery, dragoneye, noir fantasy, lance of longinus, maltese falcon, dragon detectives, neo-nazis, racial prejudice, faerie creatures, conspiracy theories in fantasy, Karina Fabian
Categories: fantasy, fantasy mystery, paranormal, urban fantasy, noir
Given the day I was having, it came as no surprise that when I got home, I found the dogs sprawled in a drugged sleep and the sounds of things being overturned from within the warehouse. I decided not to bother with subtlety, but I did resist the urge to burst in with flames going full-blast. I had questions first.
Naturally, I walked straight in to find an automatic weapon—yep, a bona fide black-market AK-47—and I thought only Faerie lived their clichés—and six other weapons of various types pointed at me. I didn’t stop, just closed the door with my tail while I strolled in slow and placid-like. My visitors had shaved heads, faces painted white with clown paint, and black t-shirts with swastikas in white circles.
“If you’re the housekeeping service, you’re fired.”
“You stay right there, or we gonna fire you!” said one guy from the sidelines as he held his nunchucks at the ready.
What’d he think he would do—whack me on the nose? I turned to the one holding the assault rifle. “Scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one, weren’t you?”
“He’s right. You just stay still while we search the place.”
“The place” was a ten-thousand square foot warehouse with offices on the upper floor. Boxes I still hadn’t opened line the walls and made a maze in the second warehouse room. I settled myself on the floor and rested my head on my crossed arms. “Go ahead. I get half of anything you find.”
They stared at me, unbelieving. I smiled back. Mr. Cooperation, that’s me. Finally, Big Gun snarled for the others to get to work. As he turned his back on me, Nunchucks muttered, “I got your half. Don’t think I don’t.” Guess he learned such witty repartee in Hitler Youth Summer Camp.
I watched and listened and waited. With eight teenage skinheads trashing my place, it was only a matter of time.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you,” I suggested as Nunchucks made a grab for the doorknob to Grace’s workshop.
“You gonna stop me?” He turned the knob.
“Nope,” I said as I closed my ears and my eyes. Even so, I saw the otherworldly light and heard the harmonious roar of Divine Vengeance followed by Mundane screams.
“The Heavenly Host on the other hand…”
I waited until the screams died down to whimpers before opening my eyes and rising.
Four of the skinheads were unconscious. Three may as well have been; they were curled up in the fetal position, whimpering. Nunchucks was actually crying for his mommy. Big Guns had collapsed to the floor as well, the gun thrown away from him. He was sitting and rocking and making high-pitched keening through the roof of his mouth.
I’d tell Grace to tone down her wards some, except that the effect is directly proportional to the evilness of the intent. Suddenly, I was feeling a little shaky about my earlier entrance.
Knights out of the armor now. I went around, collecting weapons in the office trash can and poking through pockets. I found the usual stuff—driver’s licenses, credit cards, petty cash… One kid had a condom; wishful thinking on his part, I knew. Another had a report card. MLK High. Wonder if he was the one beating up Faerie kids? Honor roll grades, too. Of all the years I’ve battled evil, there were still some things I didn’t understand.
As I was returning Big Guns’ (aka Rick Matherston’s) wallet back into his jacket pocket, he blinked and focused on me.
“What was that?”
“Angels, kid.” Actually a kind of magical shadow of the real thing, but close enough.
“But I thought angels were—”
“There’s a reason why their first words are usually ‘Fear not!’ whenever they meet a human.”
His eyes returned to their unfocused stare. I almost felt sorry for him. Then I noticed the letters FARISLAR tattooed on his knuckles. Faerie slayer.
Why a Faerie Dragon Became a PI in the Mundane World
It’s wasn’t my first choice.
Of course, I’m not sure I had any choice. You see, right now, I’m under a compulsion of sorts to obey God and the orders of his Human Church. God took away most of what makes me dragon, and is giving it back with each bit of obedience and morality. Kind of Holy Blackmail, but His ways are ineffable, if annoying to an independent-minded creature like myself.
At any rate, I can say my time with the Church has been interesting, career-wise. I’ve been everything from Pope’s pampered pet to a scribe (you should see my handwriting!) to a plow puller for the Silent Brothers. That was all before the Gap opened between our worlds—before I felt a Calling to check out the Mundane side.
Emigrating is not easy, especially when you’re a three-quarter-ton, scarlet and black Faerie dragon. In addition to the “housebroken” comments—seriously, when did having two legs become the qualification for bowel control?—and complaints against me every time a cat went missing—unfounded!—I had a lot to learn about Mundane technology and culture. So you can guess how hard it was to find a job, despite my many varied skills and qualifications.
I kind of happened into the detective biz when the local sheriff had a perplexing murder case, perplexing because the culprit was not human, not even a sentient being for that matter, but an enchanted vine. This, kiddies, is why we don’t mix magic and technology. When Yours Truly cracked the case like a ripe walnut (or maybe pumpkin is the better analogy), Sherriff Bert put me on retainer. As my rep grew, so did business. Now, being a three-quarter-ton, scarlet and black Faerie dragon came in handy: the Faerie knew they were working with “one of their own,” and the Mundanes enjoyed the novelty. I did good and God rewarded me with such gifts as the return of my fire-breathing abilities. It feels so good to be packing heat! The Church assigned me a partner, Sister Grace, who’s become the best human friend I’ve ever had.
It’s been an interesting gig. There are some hilarious cases—for you; they just annoyed me–like you can read in Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem and Live and Let Fly. Others, like in the latest book, Greater Treasures, are more grim. But hey, I’m a dragon. I handle it all with panache. Go check them out, and buy them, for pity’s sake. The PI business does not pay as well as you might think, and there are a lot of vet bills, too.
About Greater Treasures: Most people associate the DragonEye stories with high humor ranging from puns to slapstick, and in fact, the first stories and the novels have certainly been crazy fun. But the life of a cynical dragon PI isn’t all laughs, and Vern has had a few chilling stories to tell me. Some of these, I’ve sold to anthologies, but some are too long for that. Thus, I’ve decided to start publishing them on my own.
One thing I like to do for DragonEye stories is watch old noir films. Greater Treasures came to me while watching the Maltese Falcon. If you’ve never seen it, I recommend it. (Then, reread the story to see if you catch the in jokes.) I needed something with more “oomph” than a bird statue, and since Vern has some history with the Lance of Longinus, it made a good fit. I enjoyed looking up all the conspiracy theories about the use of the Lance by Hitler, which is where the neo-Nazi angle came in. To say more would be spoilers, so please, enjoy the story.
And if you do, be sure to check out Vern’s other tales at http://dragoneyepi.net.
Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), Karina Fabian has imagination that takes quirky twists that keep her–and her fans–amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures at http://fabianspace.com.
Find Karina at:
EXTRAS FOR YOUR BLOG:
Lance of Longinus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Lance
Maltese Falcon: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033870/
Live and Let Fly: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/p/live-and-let-fly.html
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/p/magic-mensa-and-mayhem.html
Book tour link with all the stops: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/2013/04/greater-treasures-book-tour.html