Dead Man in a Ditch is very much like the first book in many ways: Fetch gets in over his head, does questionable things because he can be led around by his nose, makes a mess of everything and resolves to do better, with questionable results. I’m amazed by the way these two books have made that work for me, in that I keep reading in the blind desperate hope that somehow he will stop doing the wrong thing. You know he’s not going to, and yet you still really, really hope he will.
Part of that in this book is because there are no great choices, it’s true. But I do have trouble feeling that Fetch is growing, because the whole point of him is that he keeps making the same damn mistake again — that’s been engaging for two books, but could it sustain more? I don’t know if more is planned, and I’d gladly read another book because it’s good pulpy noir-ish fantasy fun, but I’m lacking a certain level of satisfaction.
I could tell you more about the plot, but it really amounts to what I said. Fetch tries to investigate things, like weird accounts of magic that cannot be magic, and it leads into a larger plot that sees his vacillation writ large and messing things up for other people, across a fantasy city after all the magic is gone. (That’s Fetch’s fault, too.) He is just the ultimate loser, in so many ways, and I really do have to reiterate that I completely applaud the way the author still makes me care about him despite that.
So, if there’s another book, I’ll read it for sure; after that, I guess it depends where Fetch’s personality drifts off to next. This keeps sounding like faint praise, but I really enjoyed reading it — I sped through it!