Nov 162023

Publishers Weekly: Bennett (the Founders trilogy) brilliantly melds genres in this exceptional mystery-fantasy, the first in his Shadow of the Leviathan series. Dinios Kol has been tapped to serve as the new assistant to Ana Dolabra, an eccentric investigator with a reputation for solving cases blindfolded and without leaving her home. Dolabra’s recently been reassigned from the Khanum Empire’s richest enclaves to a dull backwater, where she and Kol get a knotty problem to untangle. Kol, whose prior experience consists of investigating pay fraud in the Khanum military, is dispatched to the scene of an unnatural death at the estate of the Haza clan, one of the wealthiest in the land, who mysteriously maintain a house out in the sticks. Commander Taqtasa Blas was found in a guest bedroom with some leafy trees sprouting through his body. Blas, a friend of the Hazas, had a reputation for harassing the estate’s female staff. Kol uses magic fluid to “engrave” the crime scene, impressing every detail on his mind to relate to his superior. Dolabra is intrigued by the apparently supernatural killing and sets about using her superior deductive skills to identify the killer. The worldbuilding is immediately involving, Bennett’s take on a classic detective duo dynamic feels fresh and exciting, and the mystery itself twists and turns delightfully. Readers will be wowed.