Action and Adventure,  Book Reviews,  Detective and Mystery,  Steampunk

Book Review: Dexter & Sinister: Detecting Agents

Dexter & Sinister: Detecting Agents (A STEAMPUNK MURDER MYSTERY) (The Hammersmyth Tales Book 1)Dexter & Sinister: Detecting Agents (A STEAMPUNK MURDER MYSTERY) by Keith W. Dickinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fun True Fact: When looking at a coat of arms, the right side is the Dexter, and the left side is the Sinister. The Dexter side is considered to be more honorable than the Sinister side. Keeping that in mind, it’s no surprise that while John Sinister may be our protagonist, Dexter, a mechanical cat, steals the show at every turn.

The action pivots on the wealthy Chard family, and the source of their fortune, Chard Mechanical, an engineering company that builds airships and dabbles in wacky inventions. As John tries to learn the factory’s secrets in order to solve the murder of the owner’s son, he gets more and more tangled up with the Chard’s circle of family and business associates.

What brings this all to life is the author’s gleeful use of quaint, period-acceptable language, John’s gawking astonishment at new technology, and genuinely engaging and fun side characters.

And then there’s the cat. Dexter is 90% steam-powered mechanical and 10% sarcasm. He’s smart as a whip and sarcastic to the max. But he’s also got heart (it’s probably clockwork). Don’t waste too much time wondering how Dexter works, just roll with it and enjoy his antics.

I love steampunk. I’ve been into it for a very long time now. Many books in the genre these days have leaned away from the frippery and gadgetry to focus on romance, horror, apocalypse aftermath, supernatural.. the darker the better. That’s not a bad thing if the story is good, but for me, Dexter and Sinister was a breath of fresh (albeit sooty) air. It reminded me of that childlike joy so many of us felt the first time we saw a computer keyboard steampunked, or tried on our first pair of goggles. It’s a new-ish book that feels wonderfully old school. I enjoyed it immensely.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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