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By Tee Morris

Dragon Moon Press, October 2004 ($19.95)
ISBN: 1896944183

Reviewed by Robert Thompson

Billibub Baddings is not a Hobbit even if his name does sound very much like a certain well known resident of The Shire.And he would probably shoot you if you called him one.He is a Dwarf and proud of it. He ain't no mealy-mouth dwarf like Gimli, Son of Gloin either.Nope, he is a tough talking, Mike Hammer style Detective Dwarf.

You see, this native of Acryonis (The Gryfennos Highlands to be precise), got sucked into a Portal of Oblivion during a war between the Dwarves, Elves, & Humans vs. The Black Orcs & some evil mages...

And landed in Chicago, USA, during the late 1920s. Not being the type to become an accountant or a spats salesman, he decided to set himself up as a Private Detective to pay the rent.

This story is many things:It is not only a derivative of AND a parody of Mickey Spillane and Dashiell Hammett style detective stories (and characters) AND of fantasy fiction like Lord of the Rings, it is also quite obviously a worshipful monument to both genres.An entertaining, adventure story that also offers plenty of both high-brow and low-brow laughs.

There is a chuckle on at least every other page, a laugh out loud incident about every ten pages, and an exciting storyline throughout.

Billi rubs elbows with not only the Cream of Prohibition era Chicago Society, but with a certain Alphonse Capone and other denizens of the Chicago underworld.And they are all after the same thing.A new acquisition disappeared from one of Chicago's finer museums, and everyone in the know or who THINKS they are in the know wants to get his /her hands on it.

And it becomes apparent that Billi isn't the only thing that got sucked through the Portal of Oblivion and ended up on our Earth.

While Glen Cook (and others) may have kind of pioneered in blending fantasy and "hardboiled" genres, Tee Morris has darn near perfected it.

A consistently fun read, I can wholeheartedly recommend this story to everyone.If you are a fan of classic detective stories AND fantasy fiction, so much the better, but I don't think anyone other than a total literary snob would regret the time spent reading it. There are a few "bad" words sprinkled here and there, but nothing really egregious.

There are lots of insider jokes and references that real fans of both genre should pick up on...

One last hint: Lots of words in this story are worth spelling backwards.

I'm looking forward to any sequels...


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