... the first in what will hopefully be a long series, pays homage to several of the greats ... But while there are plenty of familiar flourishes and obvious inspirational threads, Fortune still manages to be refreshingly original and very much its own creature ... Much of this is thanks to its unique and vibrant narrator. Will Parker is relatably modern while still being an authentic product of her time. Her colorful background and snappy style of speaking certainly make her stand out from the crowd of typical gumshoes. Spotswood never plays her sexuality as a gimmick; it’s relevant to the plot and fundamental to the character, and underscores the fact that queer people have always existed, even in periods that have been frequently straight-washed by history books and the media ... And while the rest of the cast is populated by familiar, expected archetypes, Spotswood fleshes them out in fresh ways ... It’s no exaggeration when I say Fortune Favors the Dead is one of the most rewarding and entertaining books I’ve read in years, one that fully lives up to the promise of its synopsis. Every page—nay, every paragraph—is rich and compelling. This is a five-course meal of a book you’ll devour in one or two sittings ... ut Spotswood on your instant-order list if you’re a fan of any of the following: historical fiction, noir mysteries, brain-teasers, or feminist and queer themes handled respectfully. When it comes to male authors penning feminist issues that ring true and female characters who are fully realized and complex characters, Spotswood joins Terry Pratchett at the very top of the list.
... sparkles with the wit and personality of this bold, unconventional heroine ... In Will's delightful first-person telling, peppered with vernacular asides, the two women initially clash in a violent midnight action sequence worthy of the kind of pulp novel Will so loves ... This mystery plot has all the twists and surprises a fan of the genre could ask for, but it is Will's distinctive, captivating voice and background--from difficult childhood to the circus to lady detective--that is Spotswood's real triumph ... Ms. Pentecost's expertise and no-nonsense attitude are appealing and entertaining, but gutsy Will, with her snappy, slangy narrative style, ultimately wins readers' hearts and carries the day.
Debut author Stephen Spotswood’s Fortune Favors the Dead introduces us to detective Lillian Pentecost and her right-hand woman/chronicler, Willowjean Parker, a mid-1940s pair that resembles a gender-swapped Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin ... Written with witty prose, Fortune Favors the Dead is and often humorous and fun—nowhere near the stuffy analytical voice of Dr. Watson. Instead, with its cast of suspects (all conveniently listed at the start of the book to help readers keep track), it has the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie mystery, and there’s a delightful dose of noir thrown in for the more hardcore pulp fiction crowd, too ... It’s as mysterious and fun a caper as you will ever read, with plenty of misdirection and intrigue to keep you guessing. You don’t need a clairvoyant to realize this duo will be around for years to come.
... a light, breezy 'popcorn' book that will keep readers engaged from start to finish ... This is a fun whodunit for high schoolers up through adults. It’s easy to pick up and put down again, perfect for a cozy weekend read.
Told as a reminiscence by Will, this story of a consulting detective and her assistant has been likened to the adventures of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. There is indeed, a marked similarity, both in the style of narration and time of the setting as well as in the characters themselves, in spite of the change in gender ... The story is easily read and fluidly told, with enlightening flashbacks provided from time to time by Will, who puts her own sharp-tongued dialogue, frank ironic humor, and insight into the story as well ... With the tone and style of an old-fashioned murder noir, written from the female point of view, Fortune Favors the Dead is the beginning of a stellar period piece in a hard-boiled fiction series.
... stellar ... The deep and sensitive characterization of the two protagonists, coupled with rich description and tonally spot-on humor, make this a novel to remember. Spotswood is definitely a writer to watch.
Spotswood supplies scattershot period detail, mild wisecracks, an anticlimactic solution to that locked-room puzzle, and a Chinese box of denouements: If your chosen suspect isn’t pronounced guilty, just wait a few pages ... The most striking feature is the provocative gender-flipping of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.