A curious mixture of Supernatural and Scooby Doo, with a bit of American Gods thrown in; far from perfect, but entertaining, with some endearing characters, and some pleasantly dark moments. This urban fantasy story might not use the most original tropes; but what J.L. Aarne does with this tropes is rather interesting. A grieving demon hunter, a punk rock angel, a pie-baking werewolf, a Native American coyote spirit and a middle-aged, dirty-mouthed Southern Belle with her clever dog make for a charming Scooby Gang, even if most of them don't really do much.
And then there's James.
I'm that kind of girl who always roots for a bad guy, I'm always in for morally shady characters. But just like most average readers, I can't root for characters who hurt kids (or animals, if not in self-defence); I do have boundaries, after all. Main characters hurting children or animals are a big no-no for most authors for a reason. J.L. Aarne crosses this boundary with this James character, giving him a cruelty that I found hard to take, considering James is supposed to be - well, not a good guy, maybe not even one of the not-so-very-bad-guys, but the love-interest. And frankly, I'm not really sure what to think of it.
That hasn't influenced my rating, though. I rather like fictional characters that challenge me, that puzzle me. James works rather well in this respect.
What gave me a hard time was the way the story was written. On the one hand there are the typical niggles: a bit too much telling too less showing from time to time, too much tension-decreasing info-dumping, too many unnecessary details, and much too much waving (everyone constantly waves their hands around). The POV was a bit odd, too: alternating between Dale's POV, without ever being introspective enough for a real personal narrator, and a kind of omniscient narrator, sometimes changing mid-paragraph. A tighter editing might have helped with all of that. On the other hand there's my biggest issue: the immature, juvenile tone of voice; a voice I've come to associate with fanfics, but that I've also encountered in a lot of m/m romance & m/m fiction. In too many, in fact. I'm so over this immature, juvenile style that gives me a hard time to believe the characters are in their mid-thirthies (or even around for centuries and millennia, in this case).
I'm not entirely being fair here, because The Man in the Long Black Coat is by no means bad. There are some moments of real stylistic grace, making the other parts – which may have been intended as comic relief, if so, it was lost on me – stand out all the more harshly, sore teeth in the mouth of something that, with a bit more focus, could've been really good.
Tolle Geschichte, ein Schreibstil, der mich nicht losgelassen hat, interessante Charaktere, die teilweise zum Schreien komisch agieren, die ich aber trotzdem immer ernst nehmen konnte. Auch als Kriminalgeschichte funktioniert dieser Roman, obwohl er viel mehr ist mit seiner ganzen Welt voller paranormaler Wesen. Auf die Sexszenen hätte ich verzichten können, aber das ist wohl Geschmackssache.
Ich hoffe sehr, dass J.L.Aarne bald noch mehr Romane veröffentlicht, denn bisher finde ich nur noch 2 Kurzgeschichten von ihm und ich bin leider nicht so der Kurzgeschichten-Typ.
Sehr sehr empfehlenswert. Story, Personen, Schreibstil. Erstklassig und unterhaltsam. Warnung: An einem freien Tag lesen und tagsueber beginnen. Das ist kein Buch, das man auf die Seite legt und das Licht ausmacht nur weil Schlafenszeit ist. Ich hoffe, dass der Autor schon sein naechstes Buch in Arbeit hat und uns nicht allzu lange warten laesst.