If Bride of the Rat God was a logical follow-up to As You Wish, then that makes Smoke and Shadows an obvious next selection. It’s the television industry instead of the film industry, but there’s enough similarities. Going from England with Cary Elwes to Hollywood with Norah Blackstone, now it’s Vancouver with Tony Foster. Yes, the same Tony Foster I mentioned back in this blog post.
Tony first appears in Tanya Huff’s Blood series as the cocky street kid who occasionally gets involved in Vicki Nelson’s cases. By the end of the series, he’s moved to Vancouver with Henry Fitzroy and has started building a life for himself. Smoke and Shadows is the first book in a set of three featuring Tony as the main character. There are also, as is made clear, a few short stories that take place after the books. I bought Those Who Fight Monsters specifically for the Tony Foster story I’d never read before (and oh my was it worth it).
What I like about Tanya Huff as an author, among other things, is her skill with phrasing. And Tony gets a lot of great dialogue. “It’s a show about a vampire detective. Subtle isn’t exactly the selling point,” he says at one point, and that’s not one of the great ones. (Sorry, I can’t seem to find a really good one right now, so you get to settle for a vague description of what he does for a living.)
How I first discovered this series is a strange and rambling story. When I was in gradeschool, my language arts teacher had the class get on amazon and rate books, so that the website would recommend some things for us to read over the summer. It might’ve been the summer before highschool. Anyway, one of the books that came up for me involved a television production assistant and Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of King Henry VIII, as a vampire. I didn’t do anything with it at the time, but the synopsis stuck in my head. Fast forward about six years when I was looking for something new to read and I thought I’d see if I could find that book again. The rest is history, and a good-sized collection of Tanya Huff books.