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Jak Barley-Private InquisitorPOD


Jak Barley-Private Inquisitor by Dan Ehl

As a private inquisitor, Jak Barley’s job is fairly mundane-finding errant debtors and missing property, or proving the unfaithfulness of roving spouses. It’s not a vocation that makes many friends.

Though a frequent patron of dark, wretched bars seldom visited by the more fastidious citizens of Duburoake, he still can be squeamish about some things – such as ghosts and rabid magicians.

Barley’s latest cases are just that more upsetting, dragging him into contact with sinister specters, malicious mages, irate harpies, creepy death deities and royal plots.

It will take all of his backstreets cunning to stay alive, as well as the help of alchemist Olmsted Aunderthorn, his half brother, who uses the latest metaphysical laboratory techniques in solving crimes.

  • Title: Jak Barley-Private Inquisitor
  • Author: Dan Ehl
  • Publication Date: 8/1/2011
  • ISBN: 978-1-936403-26-4
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie How would you like it if you were trying to be a private investigator and everyone referred to you as a ferret? Jak didn't like that at all but he sure couldn't stop it... The author provided me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you). It's been published and you can get it in print or ebook form. Here's a link for Rogue Press: Jak Barley: The entire title of this book is" Jak Barley - Private Investigator and the Temple of Dorga, Fish-headed God of Death. If that doesn't tell you something about the story, you're not a very good PI yourself. Mr. Ehl creates a world of fantasy that is entertaining to visit. It has danger, too, but it's mostly adventurous and busy. His characters really are characters, with little idiosyncrasies that make them a bit odd. He uses humor and puns to keep you grinning and I even worried about Jak as the story went on. He's not exactly warrior material but he sure seems to get himself in trouble. With mages, ghosts, royal plots and even harpies, Jak has a very busy time. It's even worse when the baby harpy bonds with him... I found this first book to be great fun and I'm looking forward to reading the second one. Whatever you might think about life, it's not like that in this book. That's what made it a fun read for me. That and seeing if Jak made it through alive. Happy reading. Jo Ann Hakola The Book Faerie 4225 Harrison St Las Cruces, NM 88005 Proud Member of IOBA, Independent Online Booksellers Association

Dan Ehl offers an enjoyable read and refreshing approach to the sword and sorcery genre with a delightful combination of wit, humor, and satire in keeping with the writings of Douglas Adams.

A vast vocabulary integrated with wit and humor render this book a compelling read. Read sections aloud, dear reader, for a heightened experience of the language. Not formulaic, the journey of Jak Barley defies convention so give up expectations that this book will fit into an easy category like things you've read before in the sci-fi, fantasy genre, You won't be disappointed. Jeanette Miller, MFA

JAK BARLEY, PRIVATE INQUISITOR And the Temple of Dorga Fish-headed God of Death by Dan Ehl By Raymond Tinneman This is only the second Fantasy book I have ever read. The first was in jail about 30 years ago when I was a captive audience. Most of my reading these days involves law cases or history books, so it was a fluke that I happened to read Dan Ehl's book. The author lives in Kalona and he is the editor of our local paper. He has reportedly written numerous books which are all about to be sprung on an unsuspecting public. I hope they are, because Jak Barley, Private Inquisitor is hilarious. This is an over-the-top satirical jab at the genre. You could say this is a book for people who think they don't like to read books. Jak Barley is a "private inquisitor" whom everyone in town refers to as a ferret. He is well connected because half the people in town seem to be his half-brother or half-sister. Jak Barley inhabits a dung-soaked medieval hell with simmering evil around every corner. Jak Barley is a sharp, kind, but rather hapless detective in the hyper-violent Kingdom of Glavendale. Jak Barley and a few half-siblings head off on an epic journey to the capitol town of Stagsford. Jak thinks he is going to a Private Inquisitor's Conference (the symbol they wear is an eyeball peeking through a keyhole), but his little group of friends keeps growing as more stragglers join in the quest, each with his or her own special agenda. By the time they actually get there, Jak is swept up in a triple assassination plot concerning the King, the High Priest, the Queen, and Dorga, the Fish Headed God of Death. Other reviewers have complained about the 'overlong' title, but I wonder if they get the eclectic satire it contains. DORGA, THE FISH HEADED GOD OF DEATH gets funnier toward the end of the book. I will concede the book's cover is idiotic. I would never read a book with this cover unless otherwise compelled. This book is cleanly written, and every chapter ends with a neat click, like the shifting of slides in a projector. The plot is intricate and the last third of the book has so many balls in the air you can¹t believe that they will all land successfully. There is so much in the book that is human, sophisticated, and touching. The author has a knowledge of the history and geography of central Europe that enhances the story. His use of language is skilled. When Jak offers a client to banish the ghost of her dead husband, she says "Exorcism is out. I will not have him chased from his home like some errant bat." The book is bloody, entertaining, and packed with unforgettable wit. The jokes are on every page, but you may not catch them all. There were several that slipped over my head on the first reading. The humor ranges from the subtle to bawdy. One of my favorite scenes is an exchange between Jak Barley and the "Obnoxious Elf," who needles our hero about adopting a pet Harpy ¬ "You are a quick lad to so soon have fathered a daughter," Ebert bantered, "I believe she has your eyes." "I am told they grow very quickly," I countered, "and soon she may be large enough to have yours." There is a scene with Jak and his pet Harpy (half-bird, half-girl) that establishes a father-daughter relationship in four sentences. Jak is keenly observant but his best detective work is sheer luck ("buckets of sound answers drawn from the wrong well"). He is a master of the ancient martial art of "Kim Chi," and so his thumbs have to be registered as dangerous weapons. Pay attention, he actually kills someone with Kim Chi toward the end of the book. Also, Jak has a visceral revulsion to traveling in lifts. Jak was cursed as a child when he stole a handful of coins from the Temple of Manilow, the Deity of Lift Music. This book, thankfully, does not pretend to be "important." The dragon geek or the fantasy aficionado may walk away disappointed. The best audience for Ehl's book is the intelligent reader who maintains their education as a solemn duty, and has forgotten that books can also be pure fun.

“Jak Barley – Private Inquisitor and the Temple of Dorga Fish Headed God of Death” By Dan Ehl Buy at Rogue Phoenix Press; 338 pp; $17.95 Growing up in small-town Iowa, I was eager to read Dan Ehl’s weekly newspaper columns. He wrote about interesting, out-of-the-box ideas, and his stories sometimes shocked small-town readers. And although I enjoyed his yearly hitchhiking adventures the most, I was intrigued when I heard he had a new fantasy adventure. At first glance, “Jak Barley – Private Inquisitor and the Temple of Dorga Fish Headed God of Death” seemed like two or three different stories, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to read about Jak Barley – Private Inquisitor, the Temple of Dorga or a Fish Headed God of Death. Luckily, all were included in this intriguing fantasy thriller, and I soon forgave the lengthy title. Readers will become immersed in mystery, as our hero, Jak Barley, searches for the real killer of “Master Tgnatys, the richest guildmeister in Duburoake.” And what starts as a seemingly straightforward story twists and turns throughout, engaging readers to find the truth. Although this is geared toward fantasy readers, mystery fans might also enjoy Jak Barley’s adventure. — Jared Curtis for Cityview
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