Return of the High Fae by by Tom Keller is the first in the Vegas Fae story arc. And I don’t think I’m going to read the rest. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it read like an episode of Scooby-Doo. It felt just entirely too tropey.
The story is written in the first person from the perspective of our protagonist (natch). Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a story written in first person but from the perspective of, say, a second in command? I digress. So our male lead is a PI named Robert Hoskins. And because of that, I pictured Eddie Valiant the entire time I read this.
Good old Bob is an older gent, former cop with two kids he doesn’t see all that often and a ranch on the outskirts of Vegas. We’re introduced to him as he saves a likely mobster named Eddy Milagre from a kidnapping. During the thank you for saving my life what can I do to repay you portion of the book, Milagre’s mom (I think?) discovers that Bobby is in fact a fae. And a powerful one. Of course.
As is the way of things, Mr. Hoskins is all I have no idea what you’re on but can I please leave with them, and gets out of the meet and greet with all fingers and toes attached. I did mention this is pretty tropey right? So Bob goes about his life until he starts seeing weird people around. He meets a Lilith, a vampire who’s not a vampire (seriously, all the tropes) and some other fae.
He finds out from his German aunt, who can walk through trees because faeries that yes, he really is a fae. And not only that, he’s a High Fae. From what I can tell this is like the faerie nobility, the strongest and most revered blood in the fae world. This, of course, leads him to all sorts of trouble but on the plus side, he’s deaged! He’s now a twenty-five year old instead of a 50 something. Though his friends and family will still see what they expect to see.
There seemed to be several different storylines trying to weave together in this story but unfortunately, it came out entirely discombobulated. I think Keller should have first done a coming into the powers/world of the fae story, either as an introductory novel or even just as a novella or short story. Then he should have done the saving the damsel from her horrible life story followed by the fighting a High Fae bad guy story. There were a lot of Oh hay did we mention this moments.
I found this world poorly built and the characters not compelling in the least. I think my favorite one was the dog, because who doesn’t love dogs? And every once in awhile, I see the second book in the story for cheap on Amazon and I pause…but it isn’t really worth it. Maybe if it were a buck or free. Even then, I think I’d rather re-read a Dresden Files book where the fae are awesome.
Not even Vegas as a background could save this book. If I wanted Scooby-Doo, I’d watch Scooby-Doo (which I love, admittedly). I prefer a book where I can’t guess the ending by the third chapter. Rating: C-.