Reviewed by Kristin Luna
ISBN: 1942274033 (Paperback)
Batdog Press — 297 pages. Ebook also available.
Jake Daggers. Tough, grimy cop. Used to roughing up a dark-elf or two. Carries a big stick, and her name is Daisy — Daggers’ trusty nightstick.
In his years as a beat cop, Jake Daggers has seen it all and thought nothing could surprise him. Nothing, that is, until an attractive half-elf walks into his precinct as his new partner.
Shay Steele has a lot to prove. She’s young, looked down upon for being half-elf, and she’s a woman in a male-dominated profession. But her keen power of observation helps put her in the big leagues as a detective. Unfortunately, she’s paired with misogynistic Jake Daggers.
Despite their differences, Daggers and Steele must work together to solve a murder. A man has been found with a large hole burned through his chest. All signs point to his soon-to-be father-in-law, who happens to be a fire mage. However, things get a bit hairy when the two detectives start piecing together the mystery, where no one is who they seem.
Red Hot Steele has all the virtues of a hard-boiled detective story with a surprising injection of well-timed humor. Red Hot Steele doesn’t have the regular cast of characters. Dark-elves, trolls, and other scum of the underworld also grace its pages. If you like your mystery and crime novels with an imaginative twist, this may be the book for you.
Alex P. Berg has a PhD in nuclear engineering by day and writes fantasy, mystery and science fiction by night. Red Hot Steele is his first book, but the next two books in the series, Cold Hard Steele and Time to Steele, are now available for purchase. He currently has three other books available.
All art is subjective, and the best I can do is give my thoughts and opinions. On an arbitrary scale of roller coasters, I give Red Hot Steele a very commendable Detonator. When you first get on the Detonator, you get strapped into this heavy-duty seat and you’re wondering just what you’re in for. But then you shoot into the sky at 45 miles-per-hour and you’re in awe of how fun it is to be weightless for a while. The same is true for Red Hot Steele. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but found myself enjoying the pace and characters, especially Jake Daggers. But also like the Detonator, the ride gets slightly predictable. You shoot up into the air, you go down, you go up, and then down, and the ride is done. However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the witty banter between Daggers and Steele.
Interesting fact: Jake Daggers has a son, but he doesn’t see him often.
Interesting quote: “Daisy is the worst kind of woman, a heartbreaker and a home wrecker, but in the literal sense not the figurative. she’s a foot and a half of steely eyes and cold shoulders, and she’s got the meanest slap in the seven boroughs. She’s my nightstick.”