The Jacq of Spades Synopsis: The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is split between four crime families in an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.
Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems. Kidnapped from her mother’s brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.
Air’s little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.-Goodreads
The Jacq of Spades Review
In The Jacq of Spades Patricia Loofbourrow manages to spin a tale that keeps you guessing right up until the very end. There was always just enough uncertainty about clues to keep you slightly off-balance and make you doubt your conclusions. Add in the fact that the main character is an intelligent, strong woman who could drink more than a few men under the table, and you have a story that is almost irresistible.
Now, this novel is technically Steampunk, but its not heavily mentioned. There aren’t a lot of cool gadgets mentioned, but there’s talk of Inventors and the mechanisms that make the city work. I won’t go into too much detail, just felt it was best to let the readers know that this wasn’t a heavily fantastical story. This lack of obvious ‘punkery does nothing bad to the story, though. Its mentioned at the appropriate moments, but you don’t spend your time ooh’ing and aah’ing over gizmos because you’re completely wrapped up in the mystery that’s unfolding as the main character desperately tries to uncover exactly who The Red Dogs are, as well as find a missing person, before it’s too late.
The Jacq of Spades hooked me immediately, almost against my will, and pushed me through a story that both captivated and puzzled me. I don’t even have any major critiques worth mentioning in this review. That should tell you something.