Mixing high fantasy and mystery, the third book in the Maradaine Constabulary series follows Inspectors Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling as they track down a dangerous murderer.
The city of Maradaine is vexed by the Gearbox Murders: a series of gruesome deaths orchestrated by a twisted mechanical genius. With no motive and no pattern, Inspectors Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling--the retired spy and untrained mage--are at a loss to find a meaningful lead in the case. At least, until the killer makes his most audacious exhibit yet: over a dozen victims in a clockwork deathtrap on the floor of the Druth Parliament.
The crime scene is a madhouse, and political forces conspire to grind their investigation to a halt. The King's Marshals claim jurisdiction of the case, corruption in the Constabulary thwarts their efforts, and a special Inquest threatens to end Minox's career completely. Their only ally is Dayne Heldrin, a provisional member of the Tarian Order, elite warriors trained in the art of protection. But Dayne's connection to the Gearbox Murders casts suspicion on his motives, as he might be obsessed with a phantom figure he believes is responsible.
While Satrine and Minox struggle to stop the Gearbox from claiming even more victims, the grinding gears of injustice might keep them from ever solving these murders, and threaten to dismantle their partnership forever.
Maresca delivers plenty of fantastical mystery in the third Maradaine Constabulary novel. The Gearbox Killer, a serial murderer who delights in trapping people inside deadly clorkwork mechanisms, has come to Maradaine. Fortunately, when Constabulary Insp. Satrine Rainey and her untrained mage partner, Minox Welling, are called to Parliament to stop a "monstrosity of machinery," Minox is able to magically slow the machine and save 12 victims with the help of Dayne Heldrin, an exiled guardian from the Tarian Order. Dayne is certain the Gearbox Killer is Sholiar, a murderer he failed to catch in his last posting. But Dayne and the Inspectors face a tangle of complications that may allow the killer to escape. The intrepid investigators also grapple with rumors of corruption in the Constabulary, widespread distrust of Minox because of his unaligned magic, and a case involving a series of child kidnappings. The only certainty is that the more they delay, the more time the Gearbox Killer has to build another killing contraption. Maresca's detailed worldbuilding and tightly plotted intrigue will entertain fans of suspenseful fantasy.