Literature / Mick Oberon

This is a series of Urban Fantasy Private Detective novels by Ari Marmell, starting with Hot Lead, Cold Iron and followed by Hallow Point and Dead to Rites published in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

On the surface, Mick Oberon is just another PI making his way on the mean streets of 1930s Chicago, but he packs a wand instead of a gun, and slugs back milk in place of whiskey. Mike is an Aes Sidhe, one of the lords of the Faerie Courts, who abandoned his homeland for the realms of men.

In need of some cash fast, he breaks his policy of never working for The Outfit and takes a job looking for a Capo's missing daughter. The catch? She's been missing 16 years, and a changeling left in her place. Oberon has to deal with criminals human and Unseelie, corrupt officials, and old country witchcraft to ferret out the truth.

This series contains examples of:

  • Changeling Tale: The plot of the first book hinges on finding out who made the switch and why.
  • Cold Iron: The classic fae weakness, its prevailing use by humanity is one of the two main reasons the fae left Earth.
  • Creative Sterility: The Fae have this problem. They imitate everything humans do, to the point of having locomotives that look like steam engines but are powered by indentured goblins on pedals, and organizing themselves into gangs and police departments to divide the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
    • Magitek: A side effect of the above cultural mimicry: in addition to the above mentioned trains, the fae have guns made of brass (Cold Iron and all that) and powered by fire magic. It's mentioned that they haven't figured out automobiles quite yet, so it's still mostly carriages with whitewall tires.
  • Friend on the Force: Pete, the werewolf cop. Mick lets him into Elphame during the full moon so he won't hurt anyone.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Mick Oberon embodies this trope, except that the bottle in his desk is milk, and he carries a wand in his holster instead of a gun.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When Mick had his falling out with the rest of his kind and left for Earth, he helped spread several vicious rumors that implied he was exiled by his kin (when in reality, it was more of a self-imposed exile) to give himself less reason to return. Unfortunately, this means that when he does need to go back to Elphame for anything, he has to deal with unhelpful Seelie who think he's a nasty troublemaker.
  • The Mafia: As in the Real Life 1930s, it has a major presence in Mick's Chicago. Comes in human and fae varieties.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Ramona Webb turns out to be a succubus in Dead to Rites — though Mick points out that demons of any kind are just another variety of fae, albeit a frightening variety.
  • The Magic Went Away: It's mentioned countless times that magic in the world has been in decline for the past few centuries: the old gods are gone, the fae have abandoned Earth due to humanity's technology and use of Cold Iron, and the number of legitimate magic-users can be counted on one hand.
  • Our Elves Are Better: And Mick never, ever lets you forget it, either. He can hardly go a page without a pointed remark about what pathetic saps humans are.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: We see all manner of faeries from European mythology, and Mick explains that the same varieties are found everywhere, and different myths are human interpretations.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Mick does this almost constantly, with occasional digressions to complain about how he has pretend he has a grudge with grammar to fit in in the human world these days.
  • Science Vs Magic: It's stated the one of the main reasons the fae left Earth is due to modern technology interfering with fae magic. Even Mick isn't immune to this; things like cars, phones, and radios drive him crazy on an instinctual level.