Monday, September 29, 2008

The Mister Trophy by Frank Tuttle

TITLE: The Mister Trophy
AUTHOR: Frank Tuttle
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 12k)
GENRE: Fantasy mystery
COST: $2.50

When a Troll hires Markhat the Finder to broker an exchange, he would much rather pass than accept the job. After all, the Troll wants him to go to the home of one of the most dangerous vampires in Rannit and take back a trophy from the War. But with three Trolls refusing to take no for an answer, he doesn’t really have a choice…even when he discovers not all is as it seems…

One of my weaknesses? Sarcastic detective types with a fatalistic view of the world. Especially when they’re funny. And even more especially when their overwhelming sense of right makes it impossible for them to stay out of the fire. Markhat grabbed my attention in Tuttle’s first story, Dead Man’s Rain, and he refused to let go in this one. Within the first 350 words, I was already laughing, and that level of entertainment never abated.

Tuttle’s sharp prose has a clarity that keeps all the details of his rich fantasy world distinguishable. There are no wasted words. Even with such economy, though, the story leaps off the page. Scenes aren’t drawn with protracted exposition; instead, he shares crucial facts – in fresh ways – as the reader might demand them. It keeps the story clipping along, and before you realize it, it’s over and you’re wishing there was more to come.

If the story has any weaknesses, it’s in the execution of the overall plot. There are one or two flashes of well, that’s convenient as Markhat deals with the vampires, so while it’s original and fun, it doesn’t have quite the same sharp edge as the rest of the story’s attributes. Granted, though, it’s a short story. There’s only so much room. But in a world this vivid, with characters this enjoyable, I’m greedy. I want more. A lot more. It’s not often stories as dynamic and fun as this one come along.


10/10 – Funny and crisp and absolutely wonderful


9/10 – The author makes three Trolls who need translators come alive; need I say more?


7/10 – Original, though the shorter format doesn’t do it any favors

Entertainment value

10/10 – Markhat is fast becoming one of my favorite sarcastic detectives.

World building

9/10 – Even for a short story, the world is vivid and well-fleshed.



1 comment:

Amy said...

Thank you so much for this review--it was fantastic. You've convinced me to give this story a try!

I love a good, sarcastic detective.