Book review: Fairy With a Gun

Fairy With a Gun
The Collected Terrorbelle
by Patrick Thomas
Padwolf Publishing 2009
ISBN: 1890096415

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

Here’s a new book by my favorite male horror/fantasy author, whose body of work rivals Stephen King’s in volume. Unfortunately, he’s just a hometown phenomenon here in NYC, otherwise he’d be giving Mr. King a run for his money. And two for the show, as Patrick himself would undoubtedly add. Okay, so he’s addicted to corny puns. He’s also a bit careless about his spelling and grammar, and occasionally slips in his continuity. I try not to let little things like that bother me when I’m reading something I enjoy, and I do enjoy anything by Patrick Thomas, though it does bother me that he’s practically an underground writer. Maybe someday he will be given the respect and fame that he deserves. As well as a vigilant proofreader!

In the meantime, you can enjoy this latest collection of stories about Terrorbelle, the half-pixie, half-ogre who works as an agent of Nemesis, Inc., avenging wrongful deaths, punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. I love Terrorbelle; she’s six feet tall and built like a brickhouse, with shoulders like a linebacker. She also has pink hair and pixie wings that are razor-sharp, which she usually keeps concealed under a hot pink trench coat. She’s one badass fairy gal and no bad guy or gal can stand up to her without getting knocked down like a bowling pin. Of the ten stories in this slim paperback volume, I found it hard to pick my favorites. Some of them were reprinted from Patrick’s past works. I enjoyed them just as much the second time around. But for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Terrorbelle—or T-Belle, as her friends call her—here’s a short rundown of her best adventures:

“Endgame” shows our badass fairy up against a real badass. A not unattractive woman whose face wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but who’s got a killer bod, and I mean that literally. In T-Belle’s own words, Badass’ posterior “could chew up other butts and spit them out”. You could say the lady has some issues with the male half of the human race. Most rape victims do. But how many rape victims go as far as dabbling in dark magic to get a Dark Maw attached to their hinder, so they can bite off whatever gets stuck in there? Badass does her Lorena Bobbitt bit on at least ten guys before T-Belle busts her ass, which tries to bargain with our heroine while it’s tied down waiting for the sun to come up and dissolve it like a bad dream. And you thought that comedian Jim Carey was the only one good at talking out of his ass!

“Up, Up, and Away” is about a relatively peaceful night spent at Bulfinche’s Pub, where Nemesis takes her agents for a bit of R&R after a particularly strenuous mission. Here we get to see T-Belle interact with the other gods and heroes of legend, as well as with her favorite human bartender, John Murphy. There’s a sad but sweet sideline about one of T-Belle’s coworkers Ganieda, the twin sister of Merlin, mage of Camelot, who runs into her old beau Sir Dagonet, King Arthur’s former jester, at Bulfinche’s. Dagonet, also known as the Infinite Jester, is a sweet little dwarf with snow-white hair and beard, like Paddy Moran, the leprechaun owner of Bulfinche’s. He has been a stable boy, a juggler, a jester, a knight, and a healer, a mystic power granted to him by the Holy Grail, the sacred relic of Christ that so many of Arthur’s knights tried to find and so few actually did. But one thing he’ll always be is Ganieda’s faithful knight, with or without shining armor.

As the only woman on King Arthur’s council, with power to rival her famous brother’s, Ganieda is a formidable mage, but in the face of true love she’s as helpless as any other woman. She and Dagonet have an on-again, off-again relationship; every time they meet, they’re drawn together like magnet and steel, even though they know they can never be together for all time. It’s just too dangerous for a hero and a mage to spend too much time together, where all their enemies would have an easy time finding them and trying to slay them. But like Katherine Chandler and Vincent in “Beauty and The Beast”, they know that even though they can never be together, they’ll never really be apart. Which also describes T-Belle’s relationship with Murphy, who likes her very much but is still too hung up on his late wife Elsie to think of her as anything but a friend. This doesn’t stop Murphy and T-Belle from working together to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

In “Paying The Pink Reaper”, T-Belle tells us about a lunch date with Murphy in Hell’s Kitchen, where she lives. Yes, T-Belle lives in Hell’s Kitchen, where the rents and life are cheap, but her own neighborhood is practically crime free, thanks to her one-woman security program (which most people would consider vigilantism; those of us from the hood prefer to think of it as DIYS, or Do It Yourself Security, since even the muggers there walk in pairs). While on his way to meet T-Belle, Murphy stops along the way to help a pregnant girl being attacked by a vicious girl gang. It turns out these skanks are the Pink Reapers, who serve the Bandearg Anbhas, or Pink Death, a female soul feeder from Faerie that sucks the life from her followers. As T-Belle explains to Murphy while he’s shielding the pregnant girl, “They try to have enough stupid people around them so their followers don’t die off too quickly. It’s not unheard of for them to demand the occasional sacrifice. What they do to them ain’t pretty.” As we soon see when the gangbangers sic a husk on them, a reanimated baby’s corpse that’s already had its soul eaten by the Bandearg Anbhas and turned into a vessel of her power. It’s the child of one of the gangbangers, who sacrificed her own baby for power, if you call being the leader of a girl gang in Hell’s Kitchen powerful.

Forced to take refuge in a tattoo parlor, whose owner flees when he learns the score, T-Belle and Murphy fight for the life of the mother and unborn baby in their own ways. She uses her warrior’s skills, acquired as a Daemor in Mab’s resistance army during a war in Faerie, to hold off the gangbangers, while Murphy grabs a tattoo gun and tries to change the Pink Death tattoo on the mother-to-be’s arm, to break the Bandearg Anbhas’ hold on her and her claim on the baby, before she can turn it into another husk.

“Dead In Red” is about a rapist-murderer who is a werewolf; he sets up women he meets in personal ads with an ad about fairy tale love, in which he offers to play the Big Bad Wolf to their Little Red Riding Hood. T-Belle co-stars in this one with Agent Karver from the Department of Mystic Affairs, who also appeared in “Empty Graves”. Somebody has to provide her with backup when she goes to meet Big Bad at Oma’s–a restaurant in the Village whose name means “grandmother” in German–wearing a sexy red dress and a red hooded cape, and carrying a picnic basket with her gun in it.

The last story in the book, “Girls Knight Out” (which should have an apostrophe after that “s”, Patrick!) teams T-Belle with Dagonet as he tries to find a missing Ganieda, who along with Nemesis and Rudy (aka Thrud, Thor’s Valkyrie daughter)) has been taken prisoner by a rogue demigod who eats babies. Murphy shows up to rescue her when she’s in over her head, literally, after she jumps into the Thames River to pursue the escaping cannibal demigod, forgetting that ogres can’t swim. Murphy has no magic, but he’s surprisingly resourceful, especially when there’s a friend in need. And while T-Belle can usually manage to take down a bad guy or gal by herself, she’s not ashamed to ask for or accept help when she needs it. A good thing too, because this particular bad guy has such strong magic that she needs a little help from her friends to defeat him.

Reading any of Patrick Thomas’ books is bound to brighten your day. Too bad they’re not available in stores yet. You’ll just have to go online to www.padwolf.com or www.patthomas.net to get your hands on “Fairy With A Gun”. Just be careful where you put your hands, ’cause those wings of hers are sharp enough to cut them off!

About Ida Vega-Landow

I'm a native New Yorker and a long-time Trekkie and horror fan. List of likes includes chocolate, cats, Chinese food, catalog shopping and rock and roll music. Dislikes include being told what to do, my long commute to and from my rotten typing job, and never having enough to read!
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