The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford
|There's a blurb on the cover of The Last Hot Time from fantasy stalwart Robert Jordan that states "John M. Ford is the best writer in America, bar none." Hyperbolic nonsense I assumed. After all, John M. Ford happens to be the map maker for Jordan, and I assumed that this was a sort of thank-you for those wonderous maps.|
Boy, was I wrong.
An argument can be made, of course, that Ford is not the best writer in America. However, I believe an honest debate can not be had without at least mentioning him. That's how good he is. That's how good The Last Hot Time is.
Danny Holman is running away from home. In the darkest of night, on a lonesome highway leading to Chicago, he is passed by a mysterious black car that appears to be driven by an elf who flashes Danny the peace sign. He then notices yet another car, blood red, approaching at high speed. It passes Danny and comes alongside the first car, and a burst of gunfire erupts from the red car. The first car drives off the road and stops.
Being a paramedic, Holman stops immediately, grabs his medical bag and sprints to the black car. A woman in the back seat has been shot, and despite initial misgivings by the car's other occupants, he is allowed to save the woman's life.
And so begins Danny's life as Doc Hollownight, physician for Mr. Patrice; a crime boss in a section of Chicago known as the Levee, in which the land of Faery overlaps our own, and Elven magic holds sway.
A sort of The Godfather meets The King of Elfland's Daughter, The Last Hot Time is an urban fantasy fashioned by characterization and style. Each player has depth and history that is only hinted at. It's embarassingly immersing, frightfully gratifying, and I can't reccomend it highly enough.
We want a sequel, Mr. Ford. We demand it. We plead for it.
This book was released in hardcover in 2000 from Tor Books. My understanding is that it did not sell very well, and thus the first edition isn't very valuable. (it was remaindered) There is no justice in the world.
However, any John M. Ford novel is a worthwhile investment, if only for reading. I would also reccomend 1984 World Fantasy Award winner, The Dragon Waiting, which is somewhat collectible. A US First Edition, Timescape 1983 will sell for 50-75 dollars.