"Highfire"

Out in the bayous of Louisiana, not far from New Orleans, lies the small town of Petit Bateau. Not much happens there, and that suits the residents just fine. It’s easier to get away with things and stay out of the public eye among the mangroves and bamboo of the swamps.

In fact, several of the locals have chosen to live there exactly because of the low profile of the region. Most notable among them is Wyvern, Lord Highfire, of the Highfire Eyrie, or Vern, for short.

As far as he knows, Vern is the last dragon in the world, and his primary goal is to stay alive. Holed up on an island in the swamp, he spends his days watching Netflix, drinking vodka, and smoking Marlboros. Not even the bar that ships his supplies downstream knows that he exists.

Constable Regence Hooke has also chosen to live in Petit Bateau for its obscurity. However, Hooke’s agenda is more sinister, and he has no conscience to get in the way of his plans. In fact, the only thing that stands in his way is a young Cajun kid named Everett Moreau.

Everett goes by the name Squib, a nickname given to him by Hooke when Squib accidentally blew one of his own fingers off. Hooke has designs on Squib’s mother, as well as on leading the local crime syndicate. When Squib accidentally records some of Hooke’s illegal activities, Vern intervenes and both Squib and Vern become Hooke’s primary targets.

As a long-time fan of Eoin Colfer’s “Artemis Fowl” series, I was excited to read “Highfire” to see what his adult fiction is like. The main difference I found between his children’s and adult fiction work was the language and anatomical references. Though I don’t have a problem with swearing in general, I prefer it to serve a purpose. The only purpose it seemed to serve here was to designate this as an adult novel. The story and scene could have easily been set without. Still, the writing and storytelling are as engaging and fun as the children’s novels.

I was immediately caught up in the story and invested in the characters, and stayed up late several nights reading long past bedtime. If you’ve enjoyed Colfer’s other books, you will likely enjoy this one, though you may want to keep it out of the hands of his younger fans. If you’ve never read Colfer before, this book will lead adult readers into the rest of his work.