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Uncertain Allies (Connor Grey, Band 5) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Mark Del Franco

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26. April 2011 Connor Grey (Buch 5)

View our feature on Mark Del Franco's Uncertain Allies.

After a night of riots and fires, the Boston neighborhood known as the Weird is in ruins. And when a body is found drained of its essence, ex-Guild investigator Connor Grey is drawn into the case against his will. And he has reason to be wary. Because the case will lead to an explosive secret that threatens to tear apart the city-and the world.

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Mark Del Franco lives with his partner, Jack, in Boston, Massachusetts, where the orchids tremble in fear since he killed Jack’s palm plants.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Chapter One

Nighttime in the city made me feel at home no matter where I was. The sun goes down, and the city changes, becomes its own dark twin, rich with mystery and surprise. The interplay of light and shadow, the garish and the mundane, produced stark contrasts that changed my perspective of the world. Details stood out in the pooled light of streetlamps that were lost clutter in the daytime. Faces became cloaked with meaning or menace. Mysteries deepened, too, the unnoticed receding into the unseen.

Maybe that was my way of romanticizing the Weird, the decrepit Boston neighborhood I called home. It looked abandoned during the day, the tired dumping ground for the shunned fey—the fairy folk from Ireland and Germany. At night it came alive, filled with humans and fey folk hustling for one thing or another, partying too hard, staying too long, and pushing themselves to the limit. At night it came alive, which means that sometimes someone ended up dead.

That's what Convergence brought to the world. When Faerie merged with modern reality a century ago, it brought not only fey people but all of their hopes and hatreds. Danann fairies ruled from Tara in Ireland and looked down at all the rest of the Celtic fey. Teutonic elves occupied significant parts of old Germany and threatened war at every turn. Caught between them were the refugees from the old ways—the solitary fey that didn't fit in with the mainstream. They spread across Europe and the Atlantic, hoping for a better life than they had known. Instead, they ended up in places like the Weird while the usual power players moved into the upper echelons of human society.

I had spent my professional career seeking justice for the fey. Connor Grey was the go-to guy for crimes involving fairies and elves or any other fey species. I was one of the best—maybe the best—investigators the Fey Guild ever had. The Guild was the administrative arm for High Queen Maeve at Tara and leader of the Celtic fey. When I lost my druid abilities in a fight with an elven terrorist, I got kicked to the curb. That's when I learned the Guild cared only about the Guild, the rich, and the powerful, and I had been a pawn in its political schemes without realizing it. I spent a year moping, watching my friends, my home, and my money disappear. For another year, I helped the Boston police department solve crimes that the Guild could not care less about—crimes against the weak and the powerless rungs of fey society. I didn't help the Guild or the police anymore, not really. Now I did favors. That was a kind way of saying no one wanted to give me official sanction. I had screwed up a lot of plans for a lot of powerful people in the last year. Now, I helped people I trusted and hoped that my trust wasn't misplaced.

Eorla Kruge Elvendottir was one of those people. She had tried to find a way to unify the Celtic and Teutonic fey and failed. She defied her cousin, the Elven King, and broke away from his rule. With her own court in the Weird, she vowed to take care of anyone who needed it and leave ancient rivalries behind. When she received reports that people were going missing and a strange blue light marked their disappearance, she asked me to look into it.

I had spent the evening chasing rumors, loud noises, and flashes of light. The light came from essence, the energy that bound everything in the world together. As a druid, I sensed the nuances of essence and could recognize things by their unique signatures. Except hunting essence in the Weird was an exercise in frustration. With so many fey living here, sorting out trails was a painstaking process. I was good at it, but tonight wasn't successful. Whatever was causing the disappearances was as elusive as my reputation.

I was on my way home when I spotted a Boston police car parked beside a pile of broken concrete. The Tangle lay beyond, the section of the waterfront that made the rest of the Weird safe and secure by comparison. This end of the neighborhood was a burned-out husk, the epicenter of a night of fire and riot a few months earlier. Little remained of the businesses that had managed to survive. Where the Tangle was a nest of intrigue and danger, the area next to it had become a wasteland of nothing. Even electricity was spotty—a few streetlights remained standing, but the buildings were clothed in darkness without even a hint of a squatter's candle. The hard white light of an arc lamp made finding the crime scene easy.

A building had once been where I stood but had collapsed into a heap of rubble from the heat of fire. An unsecured strip of crime-scene tape fluttered in the wind. I climbed over the first pile of soot-stained bricks and brittle mortar. Light shone from behind the next pile, dark shadows cutting through the beam of the arc light as people passed in front of the lamp. I threaded along a narrow wedge of space too filled with debris to be called a vacant lot.

"Something about not crossing a police line not apply to you, Grey?"

The dark shape of a uniformed police officer stepped into view from the side of the pit. Officer Gerard Murdock directed his flashlight at me, forcing me to turn away. "Hey, Gerry."

He moved closer. "I asked you a question."

I tried to squint past the beam of light. I knew Gerry—I knew all the Murdocks—through their brother Leo, a homicide detective with the Boston police force. Gerry's tone didn't sound like he was joking. "Eorla asked me to check things out, Gerry. What's going on?"

He had his hand on his holstered gun. At least, I thought it was holstered. "I don't care what some trumped-up elf queen wants. Get out of here before I get clumsy."

To be kind, Gerry had what might be described as an anger-management problem. His father—who had been police commissioner—was murdered under odd circumstances, and Gerry wasn't happy the case had not been resolved yet. "I'm just doing my job, Gerry."

"Do it someplace else," he said.

I held my hand up to block the flashlight beam. "I'm sorry about your father, Gerry, but I didn't kill him. You know everything that happened that night. I know you read the report."

He inched closer. "Yeah, well, of the people who were there, two are dead, one's in a coma, and you used to sleep with the other. Excuse me if I'm having a hard time with your credibility."

For months now, I had been letting his attitude slide. His father was dead. I wasn't lying when I said I didn't do it, but I did have an unwitting role in the events that led to it. It made me feel guilty, so between that and respecting his grief, I took the taunts and accusations. "Gerry, I told the truth. When Manus ap Eagan wakes up from his coma, he'll confirm it."

He sneered. "Really? He's going to confess to murder? That I'd like to see."

Except for their father, I liked the Murdocks. I was getting tired of tiptoeing around Gerry's temper and tired of him. "Yeah, well, I don't see you so quick to confess to murder."

Gerry dropped his flashlight and grabbed me by the front of my jacket. He bent me back, keeping me off-balance. "You listen to me, you punk bastard. I don't give a damn about you. You want a bullet in the head, you keep talking."

I smirked. "You wouldn't be the first Murdock to shoot me."

I read his body language wrong and didn't see the arm moving. He punched me in the face, his fist sliding off my cheekbone. I pushed him off me, and we stumbled away from each other. He pulled his gun.

"I miss something important, Gerry?"

Detective Lieutenant Leonard Murdock stood on the pile of bricks I had come down. If it wasn't for Leo, I would have...

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Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  20 Rezensionen
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Progress..maybe 1. Juni 2011
Von Jem - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I really enjoy this series, but it also frustrates me. I could not put this book down, but still felt like the series hadn't made much progress after finishing it. I did feel that all the chess pieces are finally in position for the end game. Sometimes authors get too caught up in multi-book plot arcs, such as Connor's still mysterious black mass. In this book, Connor does finally get an answer of sorts, but it's wrapped up in existential technobabble. The Wheel of the World turns, but evidently there's a gap. Oh, why didn't you say so!? Connor does undergo a major shake-up regarding the mass after the climactic battle (these books always end with a climactic battle, and it's always the best part of the book); he gets something else in his head. *sigh*

What really kept me turning the pages was how all the political factions resolved into opposing forces, and readers finally see what (and who) all the sides are: Eorla in the Weird, The Elves, Maeve/the Guild, Ceridwen and the Dead. They all want to manipulate Connor to their own ends. Connor also finally dumps the whining "poor me, I lost my abilities" and becomes a contender. The mystery of the disappearing people is intimately tied into the political infighting, and he actually investigates like a real PI. Moreover, Murdock gets involved and the two become true allies and friends. I was also happy to see the return of Shay. I do love these characters.

Overall, this book satisfied enough that I am anxious for the next installment. Once again the ending was action-packed and fantastic, but also left readers hanging. I'd really like to see the black mass be resolved, and move onto some stand alone stories. This is an excellent, gritty urban fantasy, but waiting book after book for resolution is wearing extremely thin. I'm hooked on this series, but with so much always hanging, I'm unwilling to try the spin-off series set in the same world.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Well written, moves the hero's story along 27. April 2011
Von Gary Bartz - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
The series to date has been good. I would recommend reading at the least the first series book before this one to understand the setting. This book does a good job of updating what happened in the last two books, but not the whole setting.

The book was well written, good characters. It did pull the reader along to the ending, just short of being a page turner.

A weakness in the series is the black mass of magic blocking in the hero's head. It does drive the hero and provide the setting, because it prevented the former highly skilled magic cop from doing magic while still allowing him to sense it, and turned the hero into a 'down on his luck' PI trying to help the little guy. It also started to get boring.

At the end of the last book the author had the mass do some magic on its own, but it was thrown in at the end of the book. I was afraid for the first half of this book the same would happen, but the story here moved along. Not enough to make the hero into a superman, but enough to keep the reader interested.

There was also a weakness where too many highly placed people want to screw over the hero without enough good cause in the setting.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great addition to a great series 28. April 2011
Von N. Gargano - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I am a little surprised at the other ratings for this book, I loved it. I thought it was an exciting page turner, and an exciting addition to this great series. I will say if you are reading this review and have not read the other books in the series, you should go back and read this from book one. Each book builds on the one before it so much, you feel as if you know the characters so well. This leads to surprises, which Mr. Del Franco has given in each book by the way. This series is different from so many other urban fantasy series, there is a lot of politics involved, and so many characters, that at first you think you will have a hard time keeping up. I never found this to be the case though. Also this series reads a little slower, since there are so many characters, and the politics of the different factions is so much a part of the story, it reads a little slow. Not uninteresting slow, just that you have to really pay attention to what is going on..you will see it or the character again.
Again, I just loved this latest book in the series, I hate to have to wait too long for the next one!
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Urban fantasy proper 2. November 2011
Von MacGhille - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I picked up the first book in this series after reading all the Dresden Files, Mercy Thompson and Weather Warden books available at the time. So let me say, this is not a sex-fuelled romp through vamp/wolf world (Sookie), 'What Not To Wear-While Having Sex' (Sookie, Weather Warden) or the 'my life is so hard...despite every man I meet desperately trying to sleep with/take care of me' (Mercy, Sookie) dreck that most urban fantasy seems to have become.

This is more procedural cop drama/noir detective with a fantastic fantasy backdrop that is served up as simply the reality Connor and his compatriots have to cope with every day. The setting created here has tremendous potential and a wealth of lore available that Del Franco does not shove down your throat or drone on about excessively.

Instead, you are given just enough background to keep your head above water as you frantically dash through a tarnished city trying to stay apace with a hero that can barely keep pace with his enemies. It's good stuff.

Del Franco also walks the thin line of making his protagonist just likable enough to keep you around. Connor evolves as a human fitfully, and with ample protest. Much like a real person.

I love Dresden to death, but where Butcher gives us Magnum PI and magic, complete with a know-it-all housemate and 'I know what you're thinking...' moments, Del Franco has us walk a mile with a downtrodden jerk harboring serious spotlight issues...and finds a way to make us like it.

Don't miss this series.
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Not Bad, Not Good 6. Mai 2011
Von Marijr - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I love the character Connor Grey, as well as Murdock, Meryl and Joe, which makes it difficult to review this book. Nothing really happens. Or at least nothing memorable, since I finished the book 2 days ago & can't recall much of the plot.

Connor's asked by Eorla to look into some peculiar deaths in the Weird and his investigation overlaps /w Murdock's, so they work together. There's Elf, Dannan, Guild politics in overdrive; the Dead are running wild; everyone is out to get Connor; his black mass is acting up; Bergin Vize is up to no good; Joe is drunk; the Murdock family hates Connor . . . pretty much business as usual. We still don't know what the black mass is, or maybe we do and I missed it. I find the author's descriptions, particularly about the Wheel of the World and of action scenes, difficult to follow. Once again, the climax is a sort of "fade to black" moment involving Connor and his mysterious powers, which drives me crazy.

But, all that being said, I could not put the book down b/c I can't get enough of Connor and his friends (except for Braillen, who really bothered me in this book). I guess I'd give this installment 2 1/2 stars. This is the fifth book, though, and I'm ready for some concrete, coherent answers.
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