Investigation, Mediation, Vindication

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
331 Pages
Reviewed on 04/29/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite

Investigation, Mediation, Vindication by Chris Tullbane starts with John Smith having a pretty good day out on the sunny streets of his hometown on a Friday morning. It takes an unexpected turn when he is suddenly assaulted by two ‘crab men in trench coats’, whom he first assumed were harmless cosplayers. As John tries to save himself and internally regrets not taking more taekwondo classes, a woman with leather boots steps in and saves him from becoming dead meat. She takes him to a mansion and there he meets Vampire Queen Lucia Borghesi. She is the Lady of Winter, first-born daughter of Aurelius the First, and true heir to the throne of the Italian Courts. John does not make a good first impression on her or her court of vampires. Before he knows it, he finds himself unwillingly entangled in the affairs of the non-humans. And to think, this all started because of his unsuccessful, year-old, Yellow Pages ad.

Chris Tullbane’s Investigation, Mediation, Vindication is a quirky, first-person account of private investigator John Smith’s adventures as he tries to muddle through the complicated relationships between different kinds of creatures he had no idea existed in the first place. I found the book to be an absorbing read and its uniqueness in plot and characters makes it even more appealing. This book had me smiling more often than not, especially because of John Smith’s antics and his quirky and often funny internal monologue. He is the best main character out there! And the way his nature contradicts Queen Lucia is also one of the best parts of the novel. Their personalities and natures are opposites and it’s interesting to see how the author skillfully makes such a pair coexist in his book. This is what makes it so interesting to read. The eccentric plot, the amazing characters, and the seemingly ordinary main character who keeps surprising everyone and even himself. There is never a dull moment in these pages. This is the type of book I would definitely pick up to read again and again.

K.C. Finn

Investigation, Mediation, Vindication is a work of fiction in the urban fantasy and comedy fiction sub-genres and was penned by author Chris Tullbane. Combining the mundane with the supernatural in a charming and intriguing fashion, we meet private investigator John when he is offered a position as a city mediator in San Diego. Little does he know that his new post will bring him into contact with the vampire Lucia Borghesi, who is in the middle of some serious disputes that require expert skill to untangle. So begins the journey of the hapless John to figure his way out of trouble, and pray that he doesn’t displease the vicious Lucia in his efforts.

There was something delightfully Joss Wheedon-esque about this action-packed urban fantasy novel, and I felt at home at once in author Chris Tullbane’s humor and set up. John Smith is quite literally an everyman character, his endearing nature and total lack of knowledge making him a perfectly naïve foil to the supernatural exploits at play. As the plot develops, both he and Lucia grow into more realized characters whom we can resonate with and get behind, and the witty narration and super-sharp dialogue give us stacks of development. The plot progresses into a very clever set of situations, timed perfectly for adventure, hi-jinks, and fun. Overall, Investigation, Mediation, Vindication offers a whole lot more enjoyment than you might suppose at first glance. A really enjoyable urban fantasy novel by a talented writer.

Liz Konkel

Investigation, Mediation, Vindication by Chris Tullbane is a comedic urban fantasy that introduces private investigator John Smith as he tackles mediating between a vampire and a demigod. First, he’s nearly murdered by crab men. Then, John has his work cut out for him when a new job brings him into the thick of vampire society by a mysterious woman that saved his life. The case becomes more complicated when he meets Lucia, who has been down on her luck following the loss of her throne and banishment from Italy. John’s misleading ad lands him in some hot water as he’s called upon to mediate a dispute between Lucia and a terrifying demigod. Finding his place within this society is no easy feat when San Diego is under threat of falling into a hell dimension if he fails.

The story is a delightful mash-up, pulling threads from various genres to bring to life a unique urban fantasy that blends vampires, magic, adventure, and comedy. The tone is primarily comedic, drawn out from John’s playful personality that takes even the most chaotic and at times violent moments and makes them humorous. The premise is derived from his ad which he mistakenly had run while he was drunk, which pushes him to rise to the occasion and to prove himself as a mediator. Chris Tullbane weaves the magic of the world which is brought to life through these eccentric situations and various creatures such as the vampires and the demigod.

The layered society is a unique twist on the mythology of vampires with several delightful and strong personalities throughout. Lucia is at the heart of the dispute and is a fascinating character as she is rebuilding after the loss of her throne and is working to regain what she had. The story contains a noir element through the various femmepires that are reflective of femmes fatales such as Anastasia who saved his life and drew him into this society. Investigation, Mediation, Vindication is an addictive urban fantasy read that blends humor, magical, and vampires in a comedic adventure to save San Diego.