Title: The Jacq Of Spades
Series: Red Dog Conspiracy
Author: Patricia Loofbourrow
Genre: Steampunk, Noir
LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay, Lesbian, Poly
Publisher: Red Dog Press
About The Book
A boy vanishes. But not just any boy.
1899 years after the Catastrophe, Bridges is owned by the Mob. As the city’s steam-driven infrastructure fails, a new faction rises: the Red Dogs.
Jacqueline Spadros is haunted by her best friend Air’s death, killed as he tried to stop her sale to the Spadros crime syndicate ten years ago. Now in an unwilling marriage to the city’s biggest drug lord, she secretly runs a small-time private eye business to earn enough money to escape.
Air’s little brother disappears from his back porch. And now someone is following Jacqui.
Dark, gritty, psychological, multi-layered Victorian-inspired far future detective noir that keeps the reader guessing to the very end.
A tale of intrigue featuring heroine Jacqueline Spadros, The Jacq of Spades is set in a world of violence and organized crime. A member of the powerful Spadros family, she is tasked to act correctly, hold an uneasy truce with the other families, and keep her feelings and needs carefully hidden.
But beneath her formal exterior is a character that is much more complex. She routinely disguises herself as a maid to work as a private detective, and a missing child forces her to risk everything to right a wrong from her past. We soon see a side of her that is smart, compassionate, adventurous, and kind.
I found it a little hard to get into this book at the beginning, but I’m so glad that I did! It was a great story. The world is painted in exquisite detail, and the politics of the families is well-drawn and interesting. The story of the missing child was gripping, and the relationship between Jacqui and her husband Tony showed a lot of character growth on both their parts. The bits of background on Jacqui’s childhood were also interesting and shed light on the character’s current situation, feelings, and ideals.
I do wish that some of the secondary characters were more developed, as we mostly see them through Jacqui’s eyes, and some of the more interesting ones don’t appear for long. And the flashes of memory can be confusing, interfering with the flow of the story and leaving loose ends that I would’ve liked to see tied up by the end of the book. Hopefully these are taken up in the sequels.
I definitely recommend this book, and look forward to reading more of the series.
Starlight Barque is the author of Service to the State, published by Carnation books (getbook.at/service). When not writing gay erotic fiction, she can be found tinkering with her impressive collection of musical instruments, stopping to pet strange dogs on the street, and pondering tidbits on tumblr such as “when robots take over the world, will the revolution be fought in captchas?“ She plays a mean game of classic 80s mario brothers, binge-watches science fiction like a pro, and is hopeless at cards against humanity. Service to the State is her first work for Carnation Books, and she is hard at work on a sequel.