Add one part Kolchak: The Nightstalker, a touch of Columbo, and heavy helping of wizards, elves, dragons, and all sorts of fantasy creatures. Blend quickly while tongue is planted firmly in cheek. There you have the entire Garrett P.I. series from fantasy writer Glen Cook. Petty Pewter Gods is the 8th book in the series. While it definitely helps to have read the first seven before jumping into this simultaneously zany and action filled installment, Cook does a great job providing just enough back-story to explain the sometimes (O.K. quite often) strained relationships between our hero and his so-called allies.
In this installment, Garrett finds himself in the employment of the gods themselves, who seem to be having a problem holding on to their followers. And when the number of followers falls below a certain level, the gods are threatened with eviction! This one starts out with all the fun and mayhem of the other books, but unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to the others in the series. The problem is that in this installment I think the story got too big for Cook, and it appeared destine for multiple volumes. Instead, the author chooses to try and wrap everything up in the last fifteen or so pages, with our hero making a lucky guess and having all you-know-what break loose. While the ensuing chaos is a fun read, don’t think to hard about it afterwards, because then you will realize just how contrived it was.
If this was done by most other authors, the story would have fallen flat and turned me off from the rest of the books. But Cook has a way of letting you feel like you are in on some big, cosmic joke. Never taking his protagonist or storyline too seriously, the end result is a fun ride through the magical city of TunFaire. The end result is a lighthearted action-fantasy-adventure that fans of the series will enjoy. If you have never read any of the Garrett P.I. books, don’t start with this one, however. Fans of Cook’s Black Company series may be surprised by the high humor and just outright silliness that appears in this book, and in the entire series.
This book has been out of print for a while, but is still available at used bookstore vendors and in many libraries. While not the best in the series, its definitely worth reading if you are familiar with the books.