My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first full novel after two (2) preceding short stories/novellas, the book stands on it's own very well, starting strong with the introduction of the murder mystery and the principle protagonist in the first few chapters. I was immediately intrigued by the world building, which had just enough of the exotic (mix of magic, tech and religion) to keep my interest in exploring further. We get genies, angels, [Egyptian] gods, clockwork machines and robots in which we get the traditional "who done it" mystery. Add to that an amazing ability to "set the scene" with just enough description to make it interesting with being an info-dump, and I could totally see myself in that world. The main character was a likable investigator with a sardonic sense of humor that I enjoyed. The writing was concise and easy to read ... until we get to a typical (and completely ridiculous) "there must be some mistake 'cause I drink alone" trope after getting a new partner that spun me up to speed fairly quickly and dropped the book out of consideration as a favorite. Sloppy story craft and totally specious when compared to the straightforward common sense I found as the rest of the story unfolded. I know that's not fair, but now the little things frequently found in advance [uncorrected galley] copies that I could have ignored really started to irritate me (e.g. ... "like lovers in in the late of night" ... "who'd nearly bought New Orleans to its knees"). Although the writing got back on track fairly quickly, it combined with a chaotic jumble for the final resolution that was particularly disappointing ... although not quite top shelf, it is definitely worth a read.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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