The Curse of the Brimstone Contract: The Steampunk Detectives, Book 1
Magic—and love—balanced on the tip of a needle…
Magic existed at the fringes until Prince Albert discovered he was a mage. Now he and others like him are leading a revolution in steam technology that’s held tight in the grip of the upper classes.
A man of half-Indian heritage, rejected by his upper-crust, mage-gifted family, Gregor Sherringford lives in working-class London, investigating cases involving magic among the lower classes. But he’s never met a client quite like spirited, stubborn Joan Krieger.
Joan’s dream was to lead a fashion revolution designing women’s clothing suited to the new technology. But when her richest client mysteriously dies outside her shop, it deals a mortal blow to her dreams.
She hopes the handsome, enigmatic detective can prove the death a magical murder. She never expected a dark plot would be woven right into the fabric of her family. Or that cracking the case will mean merging gifts, minds—and hearts—with the one man who could be her partner in every way. If they survive the release of a soul-binding curse.
From CriminalElement.com: What at first seems like a fun, magic infused mystery, turned out to be quite a bit more. Joan is seemingly bound by not only her social status, but also her family obligations, and not only does magic mean a way out, it helps to gives her the courage to assert herself and take control of her destiny. There is a bit of light romance, but this is Joan’s journey, and the steampunk-tinged setting of Victorian London (and the clothes, oh, the clothes!) is icing on the cake.
Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!: This is a fun introduction to what promises to be a very entertaining steampunk series featuring atypical main characters. I greatly enjoyed the focus on different cultures as it contrasts with the challenge of dealing with a society that is stratified by magic. This gives a very different view of historical England as it deals with both the complications and progress made as industrialization progresses plus the struggle to gain equality for women.
4 and 4 1/2 Star Reviews on Amazon.com:
“illustrates the author’s wondrous facility at creating a compelling and imaginative story.”
“Joan is a strong heroine and Sherringford is a man of mystery. The plot sucks you in deeply and quickly. Be prepared to read the book in one sitting!”
“Lawson has managed to incorporate both genres into a multi-layered world uniquely her own. After the midpoint I couldn’t put it down.”