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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Clockwork Detective by R.A. McCandless review (reviewed by Lukasz Przywoski)




Order The Clockwork Detective over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)


OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: R.A. McCandless has been a writer both professionally and creatively for nearly two decades.  He was born under a wandering star that led him to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing. He continues to research and write historical and genre fiction, battle sprinklers, and play with his three boys.

FORMAT/INFO: The Clockwork Detective is 317 pages long and is the first book in the Constable of Aqualinne series. The book was published by Ellysian Press in May 2019. author self-published it in June 2019. The cover art and design are by M. Joseph Murphy.




OVERVIEW: Steampunk aesthetic appeals to me. It’s cool to see pocket watches and gas lamps in worlds inhabited by automatons strolling the cobblestone streets. And when you look up, you see bizarre airships cutting through clouds. Yummy.

The Clockwork Detective takes place in such a world. To make things even more fun, it throws dangerous Fae to the mix. Aubrey Hartmann, a war veteran with a pocketful of medals, fearsome reputation, and a clockwork leg investigates the murder of a young druwyd. Her potential mistakes can cause a full-scale war with the Fae. Her enemies want her to fail. Her past can ruin her career. As you see the stakes are high. 

As a lead, Aubrey doesn’t lack the roguish charm and charisma.  Despite her military past and her current work in law enforcement, she repetitively straddles the line between crime and justice. She drinks too much. She does questionable things for personal gain but she also sees the big picture and works for the interest of the society. Her intelligence allows her to see the matters clearly and unmask dangerous conspiracy and find creative solutions to problems at hand. All of this makes her nuanced and layered. 

The story has a strong feel of a police procedural. Supernatural elements come into play into the final third and that’s when the fun begins. I especially enjoyed Centaurs presented as wild and lethal predators able to tear humans into pieces without breaking a sweat. Those few chapters kept me at the edge of the seat.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the ending. Or, rather, the path to the climax. Just when things get exciting, the pacing slows down and loses most of its momentum and tension. Exciting parts mix with pages of dialogue and thinking. I’m a huge proponent of thinking, mind you. I just prefer to see its results faster in books.

The story comes together well and the main plot is well oiled and all tied up. Sure, there are hints about a bigger conspiracy Aubrey still needs to unravel, but the answers we get satisfied my curiosity but also whet my appetite for more. 

Despite its minor flaws, The Clockwork Detective should appeal to readers who enjoy intelligent protagonists and murder mysteries with complex politics in the background. 


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