I’ve been looking forward to the release of NO Quarter by Robert Aspirin, Eric del Carlo, and Teresa Patterson since I hear Teresa Patterson read the opening chapters at ConDFW in February. I met Bob Aspirin once, maybe twice, at conventions. Read his books. He was an inspiration to me.
NO Quarter isn’t like anything I’d read of Bob Aspirin’s before. Both Teresa Patterson and publisher, Tom Knowles, warned me of that. They were right. And I was not disappointed. At all… in fact, as I just finished reading the book, the only thing that disappointed me is the fact there can’t be another. The story is solid, well presented, and skillfully put together.
Patterson’s clean up work included adding names to the top of each chapter. That made the POV of view characters – Maestro and Bone – easier to navigate (a problem in other books of Aspirin’s). It flowed better because of the chapter identifiers.
The mystery itself – a young, blonde “Quarterite” (Sunshine) who has no enemies is brutally murdered. Her best friend/ex-husband, Bone, wants justice. The only way to find the killer is with the specialized skill set of a older fencing instructor/pool shark, known only as “Maestro”. But that’s the PRIMARY mystery, there’s a secondary mystery – just who is Maestro? The mystery is a satisfying romp through New Orleans’ French Quarter’s social scene – for those who actually live there. The story has Good Guys with shady backgrounds, crazy Bad Guys, and a dash of Voo Doo just to spice things up.
My husband, who read the book before I did – he’d also met Bob more often than I had – saw a lot of Bob in the Maestro character. I can see that as well, and it makes it rather bittersweet to read. However, it’s also a fitting way to remember him. It’s truly a fitting tribute novel. I hope we see the NO Quarter gang again, perhaps not with Maestro, but the rest of the gang. There were enough questions left unanswered in NO Quarter to warrant a series.
This is the first novel by a new independent publisher, Dark Star Books. It’s a good start. Let’s see what else they can do.