Series: Best Left in the Shadows #1
Publisher: Self Published (November 15, 2015)
Length: 80 pages
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Another highly entertaining entry into the Echoes of the Ascended novellas series by Mark Gelineau and Joe King, Best Left in the Shadows proves yet again these authors have big plans for their fantasy world, are talented enough to fulfill those dreams, and are far from a one trick pony, as each series is a unique story all its own.
Here Alys is a tough, streetsmart Lowsider. Selling secrets to the various gangs and crime bosses of the seedy underside of the capital has given her a comfortable life and made her a respected member of the underworld. Nor does it hurt that Alys is more than capable and more than willing to cut a throat or two whenever the need arises. So, when an old lover knocks on her door needing help with a delicate situation, she agrees . . . for a price.
In fact, Magistrate Inspector Daxton Ellis is investigating a murder. Not that another body showing up in Lowside is anything special. It happens everyday after all. What has sent Dax slumming in the undesirable section of town (and asking help of Alys of all people) is that the corpse in question was of a true blood girl: a direct descendant of the First Ascended. And when the children of important people die (especially in Lowside) someone is going to pay.
The investigation which follows is a twisting, turning affair, filled with lies, schemes, and tension. The aristocratic and idealistic Dax quickly finding himself out of his element, led into the hidden sanctums of crime lords, shadowy brothels, and neck-deep in a community filled with desperate, downtrodden people who would be more than happy to kill him — if he wasn’t being protected by Alys. And through it all, our unlikely team uncovers more than a few secrets, heals some old wounds, and discover than old feelings (even juvenile love) does not completely abandon us even when we are old enough to know better.
Descriptions for why I thoroughly enjoyed this novella are too numerous to list, but I’ll try to just keep it brief.
- Interesting characters who also happen to have chemistry. (Yeah, this is a fantasy romantic comedy, and Gelineau and King do pull it off.)
- Yet another brush stroke in the amazing portrait of the Echoes of the Ascended world, which further develops this complex land.
- A tight mystery plot which delivers twists, more than enough action, and many comedic moments.
All of which meant I flew through Best Left in the Shadows during my free time last night (You know, after the wife and kids are asleep.), and I can’t wait to follow along with Alys and Dax’s continuing adventures.
I received this book from the authors and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.