ONE FOOT IN THE FADE by Luke Arnold.
Orbit Books. p/b. £10.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
Fetch Phillips is back in Sunder City, but it is not his Sunder City anymore. Neither the Sunder City he knew from before the Coda and certainly no longer the Sunder City of late. Evidence of the Niles Company’s modernisation is everywhere, including his own Angel door. This Sunder City and its people are changing by the day. The days when the city was powered by magic fall farther and farther away.
There have been thefts reported. Thefts of items that were once magical. Dozens of them from all over the city. The police have found no trace of them. Now an angel has fallen from the sky. An angel that had wings and used them to fly. A sight that had not been seen since before the Coda. An inexplicable sight that should not have been possible.
Somewhere along the way, someone decided Fetch was the one this city needed to restore its former glory. They even put up a plaque to prove it. Sunder City’s man for hire, along with some brass knuckles and his ability to follow a trail and take the punches to further his cause, is more determined than ever to bring magic back to Sunder City. Perhaps it is time for Fetch to decide which side he is on, once and for all.
One Foot in the Fade is the third in Arnold’s Fetch Phillips Archives, a glorious, noir-inspired detective series, and this book pitches Fetch once again against a host of colourful antagonists in the search for answers. The worldbuilding remains strong, and the narrative is populated with intricate and outlandish characters who are expertly depicted in all their grizzly and dazzling details.
Fetch is the kind of narrator whose voice remains steady and familiar throughout, retaining his gritty wit and sense of irony from punch to punch and breakthrough to breakthrough. As well as dealing with his usual friends and enemies in the form of reptilian police detectives, werecat rivals, crazed wizards and a necromancer pathologist, Fetch will also encounter the last surviving genie. It is another brilliant book to add to the series, deepening the reader’s understanding of Fetch and the Coda, and by the end, it doesn’t quite feel as though Fetch’s story is fully told yet, so we can hope for more.