A legendary figure–turned–paranormal investigator protects Prohibition-era Chicago against otherworldly influences in the first of a series by an author best known for his epic fantasy (The Horned Blade, 2015).
Sixteen hundred years ago, Georgius, a soldier in the Roman emperor Diocletian’s army, slew the dragon charged with guarding the Gate separating our world from Feirie. After the emperor executed Georgius, aka St. George, for refusing to repudiate his Christianity, heaven returned George—now housing the spirit of the resentful dragon—to life and made him Gatekeeper. In the 1920s, Georgius, now calling himself Nick Medea, lives in Chicago and fends off Feirie incursions. As Oberon, former Feirie ruler, prepares to merge the two realities, Nick must combat the sinister plot while fighting his feelings for Claryce Simone, the latest incarnation of his much-reincarnated beloved, Princess Cleolinda. The market is flooded with urban fantasy noirs starring investigators with tortured pasts, burdened with a destiny and knowledge of the supernatural that they must hide from the mundanes. The usual coping mechanisms are heavy doses of snark and cynical humor. Nick breaks this mold by being a gloomy, pompous buzzkill. His relationship with Claryce is rather thinly drawn; we don't know anything about Cleolinda other than that he loved her and she dies a lot. Nick also makes a point of saying that he's falling for Claryce for herself, not for her previous selves, but Claryce is such a flat character (we know she's brave, persistent, and a good shot, but she still barely registers) that it's hard for the reader to share Nick's perspective. The time period and location should add color to the story, but mostly they serve as a source of cookie-cutter mob thugs to menace Nick and his friends.
Melodramatic and forgettable.