Book Review: Red Hot Steele by @AlexPBerg

Red Hot Steele by Alex P. Berg – 4 stars

Detective Jake Daggers likes his murder investigations the way he likes his women–straightforward, easy, and with a killer body.

So when his older-than-dust partner throws his back out on a goblin raid, his captain assigns him a new running mate–a sexy young half-elf by the name of Shay Steele.

It seems like a match made in Daggers’ imagination, but Steele’s no pushover. She’s a powerful forensic psychic, and she’s got sass oozing out of her boots.

In a debut case teeming with fire mages, foundries, and a dead guy who’s crispier than bacon, it’s pretty clear Daggers isn’t the only one getting a heaping helping of RED HOT STEELE.

This book is a solid first person murder mystery. Good plot, good details, good characters, good writing, good mystery. The main character gave me a bit of pause at first, because he’s a “man’s man” whose low opinion of the first impression of his partner struck some negative notes with me. Though we’re told he’s aware he’s a jerk and he fits the mold of crusty detective ass, he still felt a little over the top to me in that respect. But don’t give up on account of that. His new partner, Detective Steele, provides a good foil for his uncouth bastardy and even tempers him as the book goes on.

I had a hard time grasping the setting. At first, I thought it might be modern because of the descriptions of the police precinct and surrounding matters. The tech level surprised me, as they have neither phones nor engines of any type that I noticed. It has magic, though how it works is unclear. One historical reference halfway through gave the hint it doesn’t take place on an altered Earth, though I’m not sure about that. The scenes themselves are well detailed and crafted, but the overall setting eluded me.

I enjoyed this book and am putting the second of the series, Cold Hard Steele, on my TBR list. I recommend it for folks who appreciate hard-boiled detective fiction and urban fantasy.

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