Friends, partners, and professionals. So just why is this case coming between them?
In a Victorian London ruled by the blood-drinking elite, Perry Lowell is a logical and accomplished Nighthawk: a rogue blue blood who tracks murderers and thieves for the Guild. So when she and her charming-but-reckless partner, Garrett, are charged with finding a missing theatre starlet, it should be a simple solve.
But with an entire theatre of suspects, including a flirtatious understudy and whispers of a Clockwork Menace haunting the place, tension is brewing between the pair of them. Can they come together to solve the case - or will it be too late, when the murderer turns his gaze on Perry herself?
Warning: This is not a complete HEA. It's a pre-romance novella featuring the couple who will find their HEA in Forged By Desire (available Sept 2014). Heads will butt, tempers will flare - and perhaps one of them might come to realise just what the other truly means to them?
An actress is missing, and Perry and Garret must find the culprit. The stage is a place of gossip, affairs and twisted machinations though, and danger lurks at every corner. They must find the culprit before he finds them.
The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace is a novella addition to the London Steampunk series, but it takes quite a different tone to the rest of the novels in this world. Set three years prior to Forged By Desire, it follows the hero and heroine of the fourth London Steampunk novel, before their romance has taken flight. We've already had quite a significant introduction to Garret and Perry in My Lady Quicksilver, which hinted at Perry's unrequited love of her nighthawk partner, but in The Clockwork Menace we rewind even further.
Unlike the rest of this series, The Clockwork Menace is not a romance, though, of course, it has some quite strong romantic overtones as we get to know the pair who we are destined to fall in love with in Forged by Desire. The Clockwork Menace is much more a steampunk mystery novel, and I can't think of a better comparison than the Sherlock Holmes stories - think Hound of the Baskervilles rather than A Study in Scarlet, and, in our modern adaptations, I see Garrett as more of a Robert Downey Jr than Benedict Cumberbatch... If, that is, Watson was a sexy tomboy and, you know, a vampire.
Although this is a novella, I thought the mystery played out really well. It is a very complete and exciting story, with a satisfying end, all the while leading us into the next London Steampunk installment.
Again, I find myself thinking these characters could hold up a complete series on their own. The full characterizations and wonderfully colorful world that Bec McMaster has created are completely enthralling. Without the romance plot to drive the narrative, The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace proves what I've long believed, that Bec McMaster is a superb speculative fiction writer, even without the passion that heats up the pages and lures readers to her other novels. I freaking loved it.
Although I could easily have loved this novella as a stand alone, I could not resist beginning Forged by Desire only five minutes after putting The Clockwork Menace down (just enough time to make a cup of tea and settle back on the couch), so my next London Steampunk review will be up... tomorrow.
Note: this is book 3.5 and if you haven't read the London Steampunk Series before, you CAN start here, but I strongly recommend starting at the start. You can find the rest of my reviews here:
Book 1: Kiss of Steel
Book 2: Heart of Iron
Book 3: My Lady Quicksilver
The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace by Bec McMaster is a steampunk novella released on August 14 2014.
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