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Cold Hearted by James A. Hunter
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Cold Hearted

by James A. Hunter

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Yancy Lazarus is a drifter, a gambler, a drinker and a blues man and he’d really like to be left alone. He did his bit for the Guild of the Staff, the wizards’ ruling body, and now he’s past done with them.

But when an old friend asks for help to rescue his grandson from some winter fae, Yancy can hardly say no. He can’t leave a child in their hands.

Unfortunately, the kidnapping of a child is only the beginning of the problems he uncovers – and not only does he find a conspiracy that could cause immense damage, but he also places himself smack in the middle of it. Accused of murder (and then relying on the arresting FBI agent to be an ally), weakened and depowered and targeted by a pissed off mage and some ancient elemental force, Yancy’s own survival depends on him getting back in the fight.

It’s been a while since I read the first book in this series Strange Magic, but despite the wide and rich world it quickly came back to me because it has an excellent voice and tone that’s pretty unique

In the world we have a flawed wizarding organisation

In many ways it reminds me heavily of The Dresden Files but, perhaps due to length of the series so far, not quite on the same scale. But I think that’s also very much due to Yancey – because Yancey generally doesn’t want to get involved. Yancy is getting by and is quite resentful at the Guild of the Staff dragging him any further in.

Yancey is quite happy to slope around the world, preferably warm parts of the world, smoking and drinking and gambling and eating excellent BBQ whenever he can. He’s not into saving the world and he has little faith with the Guild of the Staff, with its far greater emphasis on politics and excessive caution than in actually looking out for the members it’s supposed to be helping.

Yancey isn’t involved in the wider aspects of the world setting here – which is also reflected in the world building: we have lots of hints of various monsters and creatures more than the larger organisations. This draws more from Yancey’s long and varied experiences – so we have some excellent world building about the monsters and creatures Yancey runs up against (which are varied, different and original creations which are excellently depicted for a very action packed book) than the sweeping organisations (though I love the world building around Old Man Winter and the summer and winter fae)

That doesn’t mean there isn’t epic here – but it’s epic that Yancey is beginning to uncover (and reluctantly at that) and become part of. The wider world that they are being dragged into has been excellently hinted at and I’m sure is going to develop much much further in later books.

The whole book has a very noir tone, while not set in that era. It has that cynical, jaded, world-weary sense that really does such a lot to explain Yancey’s character than any amount of overt explanation. You don’t need to have it expressly explained to picture Yancey sat in a dark, smokey bar, looking perhaps 10 or 20 years older than he should be, playing the blues on the piano with a large glass of whiskey to hand; occasionally pausing to share some painful old war stories with people he respects and tells people. The tone is excellent for world building.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Jan 3, 2017 |
Yancy is clearly his own person despite working in the same kind of urban fantasy world as Dresden and Mercy Thompson, and has his own snarky brand of sarcasm/humor. The action is fast, the imagery extremely clear, and the characters certainly are. Each of the two books I've read are different and easily stand alone, but are so interesting that they are very hard to put down.
Charlie Kevin is the PERFECT narrator for Yancy. ( )
  jetangen4571 | Jun 3, 2016 |
Cold Hearted (Yancy Lazarus book 2) by James A. Hunter is another awesome fantasy book to keep me up at night. This time the wise cracking,blues playing mage is helping a friend get his kidnapped grandson back. This will not be an easy trip esp. when they find out who has the child. Then he is partnered with a mortal, not by choice, but by Fate to save the world yet again. A fun ride through lots of dimensions, creatures, snarky and fun dialogue, and Hunter's crazy humor. Love it! ( )
  MontzaleeW | May 28, 2016 |
Once again, Yancy Lazarus is on the job.

He’d like nothing better than to enjoy some good blues music, chain smoke some cigarettes, and throw back some shots, chasing them with a few beers. But nope. Instead he has to rescue some kid who’s been kidnapped and dragged below to the Winter regions.

It’s no pick-nick there. lots of tunnels, bitter cold, and some really nasty Fae that want to eat him for dinner.

Known as the Fix-It man, it’s just another case and with a few bumps and bruises, and spilled blood, Yancy takes care of business. Except, it doesn’t stop there.

Things are hinky. Others are scheming to open the supernatural gates, inviting in all manner of beasts. Can’t be good for mankind, or Yancy. It’s gonna get tricky without his VIS, his powers.

Aah, Yancy. You can’t help but love him. He’s not a good catch. Smokes too much. Drinks too much. And kind of lazy. And he’s a lot older than he looks. But there’s something about him. Once you get past his smart mouth, you find he has a large heart, even though he tries to hide it behind a cavalier attitude. I’m thinking a lot of you men can relate with Yancy.

Like the first book, the action is wild, the beings are out of this world, in more ways than one, and Yancy charms you yet again.

Sorry Mom. I know you warned me about the bad boys. But, I just love Yancy.

And I love this series. I sure you hope you give it a try. It’s all good. ( )
  laura-thomas | Feb 2, 2016 |
Main characters: In Cold Hearted, we get to see a little more of Yancy Lazarus, reluctant good-guy. We get a peek into his past, into his history with the Guild of the Staff, and into his friendships. We also get to see his fears and watch him create an attachment to another person. All of this shows us a more well-rounded character than we saw in the first book, and ultimately more identifiable. Yancy has been screwed over by life, usually for doing what’s right, and we can all relate to that.

Other characters: Agent Ferrero, the FBI agent who has been tracking Yancy as a serial killer, becomes a major player in this book. Though Ferrero starts out as a reluctant ally, she becomes more and more sympathetic to Yancy as she learns more about the magic world. We get to meet some of Yancy’s friends from the Guild—Ben and James—and even learn a bit about his wife and family. The bad guy, Randy Shelton, has a backstory that is believable. He is really just a pawn in a bigger conspiracy, which is even more believable given the character.

World: We’re starting to learn more about Yancy’s world, the Guild, his family, and magic in general. We learn a lot more about the Fairy Realm and the Hinterlands. We learn major creatures like Old Man Winter, the Fates, and Lady Luck actually exist. Thankfully, Yancy is equally irreverent with all of them.

Story: In attempting to rescue a friend’s kidnapped grandson from Fairie, Yancy not only comes to the attention of a Lich-ridden evil sorcerer, but loses his access to Vis. Along with the FBI agent trying to collar him, Yancy must change the course of history to heal his magic and save the world from the Lich’s machinations.

Overall: I really enjoyed this episode of Yancy’s adventures. I feel like this book did more than the first to help us get to know and care about our protagonist, and yet it still delivered the adventure and sass for which Yancy is known.

Copy provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Review courtesy of onebooktwo.com | one book, two reviews. ( )
  InvestedIvana | Sep 2, 2015 |
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