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Night of the Long Shadows by Paul Crilley

Posted by travizzt on September 1, 2010

A heinous murder occurs and the only man to solve the mystery is Abraxis Wren. Is Night of the Long Shadows something you would commit murder for or  would you rather be caught?


Night of the Long Shadows by Paul Crilley- This is the second book in the stand-alone novel series titled The Inquisitives. It’s also the first book in The Chronicles of Abraxis Wren. The series is set in the Eberron setting of the pen and paper role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. The other novels in The Inquisitives are Bound by Iron by Edward Bolme, Legacy of Wolves by Marsheila Rockwell, and The Darkwood Mask by Jeff LaSala. The second book in The Chronicles of Abraxis Wren is the sequel to Night of the Long Shadows and is called Taint of the Black Brigade. Paul Crilley has written two other novels. His first he co-wrote with Tiffany Trent called Oracle of the Morrigan, which is the sixth book in the Hallowmere series. His other novel is to be released September 2010 and is the first book in the Invisible Order series titled Rise of the Darklings. Night of the Long Shadows was released in May 2007 and was published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

A professor at Morgrave University was found slain, with a man with dragon tattoos standing over his corpse. The witness, a dwarf named Torin, is thankfully a partner to an inquisitive named Abraxis Wren, who is called in to investigate the death. After Wren looks over the crime scene, he takes Torin and sets off to find the man with the dragon tattoos. As Wren and Torin uncover more about who this character is, the motives and reasoning doesn’t sit right with the inquisitive. There must be more to this murder than it seems.

Criticisms:
1) Editing. This is the major problem I saw with the story, however, it doesn’t impact the story too much. It was just bothersome. For example, within the first few chapters, we have a paragraph that was repeated. How does something like that happen? It did take me out of the moment and was a little frustrating to have to re-read what I’ve just read. Then later in the story, one of the last chapters to be exact, two names were mixed up. Now I could understand this mistake if the names were similar enough, but the only similarity was they both started with C. Also, I must note that neither Cutter or Col were in the scene together and on top of that, the chapter was focusing on Cutter. There were other, smaller mistakes, but nothing as bad as a paragraph being repeated or a name mix up. It was just sloppy editing.
2) Dialogue Flow. Now this is a very minor issue with the dialogue. There were times when a conversation was happening that I lost track of who was saying what. Now this only happened once, that I can recall, in the story, hence why it’s not a big issue, but it does require mentioning.

Praises:
1) Characters. I really enjoyed the two main characters. Cutter and Wren were just interesting foils to each other. Cutter, the man with the dragon tattoos, was the more ‘normal’ fantasy character. The big tough guy of the story. However, he brought a little heart to the story with his love he shows towards Rowen. However, Abraxis Wren stole the story. To put it simply, I loved his character. Wren was the kind of character that is seen mostly as the comical sidekick character of the main hero. Here, the comedian is the hero. Almost everything Wren did in the story had a sense of humor to it. Sometimes it was a small little action he does or a clever quip he says, but it works in all the right ways. You hardly ever see a main character like that and it was refreshing to see it. The secondary characters were good as well, always filling their needed roles almost perfectly. However, the did little else. Torin was the best of the group, mostly due to the verbal sparing between Wren and him. All in all, the main characters really made this story a blast to read.
2) Humor. The story was funny, plain and simple. From the funny exchanges between Wren and Torin to some of the situations, the story had a humorous feel to it that you normally wouldn’t place with a murder mystery. Instead of hampering the story in silly jokes, it made it easier to read. The interactions between Wren and Torin were funny enough that it seemed like something you’d see between two friends. It also made the more serious scenes, where no jokes were found all the more serious. The humor helped the story flow and not get caught on things that would slow it down.
3) Murder Mystery. The mystery itself was interesting and exciting. Things happened at a rapid pace that it was almost had to put down for too long. It also helped that it wasn’t really predictable, for the most part. With as many twists and turns the story had, it would be hard for anyone to predict what was going to happen in the next chapter. There were times when the story almost felt like something you’d find on a good hour-long crime drama on television. It just was a fun mystery that kept me at the edge of my seat.

Side Notes:
1) Characters. There were a lot of characters that only showed up for one or two scenes and were never heard of again. Usually I’d be upset or angered by this, but for the type of story that Night of the Long Shadows was, it didn’t bother me. In fact, it was almost like something out of a crime TV show like CSI or Law and Order, with all the characters and suspects.
2) Eberron. I’m still really new to the whole setting and there were somethings I weren’t familiar with that I had to look up. Not a huge issue in the scheme of things, but it was something to keep in your mind while reading that you may have to look up things.
3) Cover Art. It’s okay, but ultimately nothing special. The green hue everything has isn’t really flattering and really doesn’t work. Wren and Cutter do look really good, but they don’t save it from the green blandness. They just balance it out to make it an okay cover.

Overall: 4/5
Final Thoughts:
Night of the Long Shadows is a really fun and exciting murder mystery. The biggest issue I had with the novel was the lack of editing. Having a huge mistake like repeating a paragraph again was lazy on the editors’ part. I just hope that other copies of the book have this fixed. It’s also worth mentioning that there were times when it was hard to pick out who was saying what, but it wasn’t a huge issue. Those issues being said, they hardly impact the humorous experience I had while reading it. From the wonderfully witty dialogue to Abraxis Wren’s clever quips and jokes, it was surprising to see how humorous an investigation of a murder can be. While the humor was great, it wouldn’t have been as good without Abraxis Wren. Wren just made this story so much more enjoyable than it already was. His humor and attitude towards things aren’t what you’d normally see in a main character, I say we need more Wren’s in fantasy stories. When all is said and done, would I recommend Night of the Long Shadows? Yes, it’s definitely worth a read.

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