My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This murder mystery takes place in the small, outlying town of Haz Gate, a mountain village in an undetermined country. Like most small towns, it has its secrets and its own dynamic. A stranger comes to town from the capital, and is murdered near the home of a wealthy citizen. One of the town’s children, Esmine, an intellectually gifted boy with his own odd quirks, is accused of the killing. Teacher Linna Nyx is sure he is innocent and with the sometimes unwilling help of the town’s Peacekeeper, she sets out prove just that.
This was an interesting story in many ways. It is never outwardly stated exactly where Haz Gate is located, leaving the feeling of an alternate world. The time period is not specified, either, although the descriptions and mannerisms give the impression of a sort of Victorian-ish , almost steampunk setting. Other than the lack of broader scope, the worldbuilding is good. The town is easily visualized, and even without a defined time period, everything fits neatly into the world here. Where the story sometimes lacks, for me, is in character. There is very little background or explanation revealed for most of the characters. That works for Linna, the schoolteacher, who is just that- a schoolteacher who is very protective of her students, especially Esmine and his friend, Bel. Both of the boys are a bit enigmatic- they are different in ways that are hinted at, but never really defined. Esmine, in particular, is almost feared by the townspeople, adults included, and there are hints that he skulks about town at night doing- well, we don’t know. Sometimes, there is an almost supernatural feeling around him, but there is no hint at that sort of thing in anyone else or the town’s history. It kind of left me hanging.
The plot is a pretty standard murder mystery, with a nice twist at the end. It does resolve in a sort of wrap up explanation rather than played out in action, but the overall feel of the style is more Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, where that type of resolution is common.
It was an enjoyable, quick read, with some interesting characters and a decent mystery plot. Despite some areas that I felt could have been explored more, I recommend it if you enjoy murder mysteries with a bit of quirkiness.
On presale now and coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition.
Medusa “Deuce” Grainger is smart, confident, and as good a pilot as she is a poker player. A freelance shuttle jockey working for an independent terraforming company, she’s left her former life, and her father, behind. Mostly.
Now, her AI has downloaded another Personality off a wrecked ship, and he’s acting oddly ever since. Someone wants to sabotage her friend’s company out of business, evidence of tampering is being corrupted, and people have died. With an investigation looming that could shut down the company and cut off her main source of income, it’s up to Deuce to figure out what’s going on, and how all the pieces fit the puzzle. Along the way, she reconnects with an old friend and discovers someone is stalking her. Deuce will need to connect all the dots fast, because more lives are at stake than anyone suspects.
Learn more here, where you will find links to the presale.
Two’s Company is listed on Goodreads. If you like what you see above, I’d appreciate you adding it to your Want To Read list. Thanks!
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