The Banshee's Walk
by Frank Tuttle, fantasy (2010)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60928-060-4

The Banshee's Walk returns to Rannit, where our Finder hero Markhat investigates crimes - usually the paranormal kind, given the nature of the setting of this story - and this time around, he gets a new assistant, Gertriss, as well as a new gig: to investigate some unusual nightime happenings in Lady Erlome Werewilk's estate. The Lady is a patron of some upstart artists whose works sell like hot cakes. That and her unorthodox views about the War make her an enemy of gallery owners all over town.

First things first. The Banshee's Walk is not a good point to jump in if you are new to the author's series. Mr Tuttle brings in a handful of secondary characters from previous books, and newcomers may scramble to catch up with who these folks are.

As for me, I'm disappointed by this one because it's a dry and slow read compared to the previous books in this series. Much time is spent in the early part of the story to introduce Gertriss, who embodies all the stereotypes of a dowdy but unexpectedly capable ingenue who also turns out beautiful if you take a second look at her. Don't worry, Markhat is still with Darla, so there is no love triangle here. This is a good thing, because I'd much prefer the author to focus on mysteries and spooks rather than soap opera.

Markhat in this story is pretty bland. He lacks much of the lively character traits displayed in past stories. Here, he seems bewilderingly omnipotent and he experiences very little difficulties in his investigations. The mystery is also pretty forgettable. I spend the whole story reading in autopilot mode because I'm not drawn into the story.

I'm a fan of the author's previous stories. If this is a slight bump on the road where the going is concerned, so be it, as I can't expect every entry in a series to be amazing. Still, I'm taken aback by how dry and colorless The Banshee's Walk is. Here's hoping that the author gets his mojo back in the next one.

Rating: 60

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