... 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.
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.
... 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.