Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book Review: Billibub Baddings

Billibub Baddings
And The Case of the Singing Sword

By:  Tee Morris

Publisher:  Dragon Moon

Publish Date:  October 2004

Format:  Paperback, 297pgs, 5 1/2" by 8 1/2"

Genre:  Fiction with splash of Fantasy

Series:  1st book in Billibub Baddings series

Recommendation:  If you enjoy mobster reads, and the feel of fantasy.

Book Synopsis:
It is The Era of Prohibition, where crime runs rampant in the streets and a city divided into territories serves as the ultimate prize.  Somewhere in this Underworld of Chicago, an enchanted weapon holds the key to ending The Gangland Wars.  In the wake of The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, only one is man enough to stand up against Al Capone...

...a four-foot-one dwarf named Billibub Baddings.

First Sentence:
Chicago, 1929.  There are a thousand stories in the naked city; and when you're a dwarf at four-foot-one, they all look that much taller.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Billibub Baddings is an ax yielding dwarf of Gryfennos who finds himself accidentally dropped into a library of the human world...of Chicago after falling into a portal.  He teaches himself the language and catches up on current events.  Along with the reading in the library to get to know the world he is now in, he enjoyed the fiction stories of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.  Then trying to figure out what work to do, he figured with his military skills as a dwarf and what he loved he would be a private investigator.  He's been here for a few years and doing okay in the business.  But this month is a slow month, thinking on making the call to an old associate to make a few extra bucks as dressing up as a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz.  But as he was readying himself to make the humiliating call, a tall woman from the prominent family in Chicago walks through the door with a case ~ wondering why her boyfriend is now deceased from a hit by whom they suspect, Al Capone.

I enjoyed this book as it was a new blend for me.  Our setting here is the late 1920's in Chicago during the mobster era of the big names; Al "Scarface" Capone and George "Bugs" Moran.  With a mystery detective take on the story.  But the best part was the blend of the fantasy world Billibub comes from.  Not only does Tee create a great feel for the late 1920's with the accents and particular words popular then, but he creates a whole fantasy realm through Billibub's metaphors and similes to his home world from his memories. 

I was really surprised how great these two worlds blended together.  These are two places I would never have thought to blend.  I have to say as I don't get to visit Billibub's world much as he is living in Chicago, but I would liked what pieces I did get of it and wished I could see more of it.  But, Billibub has created himself here in Chicago in a great way.  And all the short jokes, he takes with stride (most of the time).

I enjoyed the mystery/detective side of the story as well as it ends up being blended with the fantasy world as well.  Very nice take on this.  I have to say I enjoyed the piece on his ax and weapons.  This did bring a smile to my face the first time it was really approached in the story with the visitors in his office.  I know there is one other book with Billibub, and I'm curious to see if Tee comes out with more.

This is a book to read if you enjoy the 1920's or 1930's feel, mystery/detective storyline, with a grace of fantasy through the book and mystery itself.

If anyone is interested in podcast, there is an audio of this book available for you, HERE.
You can visit Tee Morris at his blog with links to his books, HERE.

I read this book for review.

This book qualifies for the Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Floor to Ceiling Books.


Blodeuedd said...

Yeah not for me. What a cover.
Though I do love mobster books, love them! ;)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This sounds like such a fun blend of genres! Oh and that you enjoyed it makes me really want to read this one. Great review!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Blodeuedd - I do think this book might be for a specific crowd. But it was fun and a different take on the mobster scene.

Melissa (Books&Things) - You know, you might enjoy this one for the fun. It has a great blend of the mobster feel and fantasy dwarf feel. :) Thank you!