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Review: Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr

Murder in AbsentiaA young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.

Murder in absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world

This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – it will appeal to lovers of urban fantasy, detective murder mysteries and ancient Rome.

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When it comes to mystery novels, you pretty much expect the usual type of setting: lonely detective working the streets of a big city. While that typically works out well enough, it can get a bit redundant and sometimes you need a change. This particular book is about a smart sleuth by the name of Felix, but the twist is that it is set in a mythical Roman-like fantasy world. The setting alone elevates the setting of this mystery to new heights as Felix is forced to carefully and discreetly navigate the city of Egretia to uncover the identity of a mystical killer. In a way, it almost serves as a character onto itself, with the author’s vivid descriptions.

When Felix is summoned by one of the wealthiest and most prestigious politicians, he’s unsure what to expect. But as he is tasked to look into the death of a young man, he finds himself dealing with forces that may be too dark for him to handle. Yet, that doesn’t deter him as he continues his journey to uncover the truth, a journey which is filled with a range of intriguing characters, well thought out clues and lead to a cliffhanger that will leave you begging for more.

As a whole, this book serves to have a little of something for an extremely wide range of readers. The only fault I found with it, was the absence of explanation for certain terms, phrases and names. Though I might have been found of Ancient Greece and Rome, I won’t claim to be familiar enough with their lifestyles to be fluent at understanding all of this without any outside help. Fortunately, the author thought to include a lot of helpful information in his notes at the end of the story. I would highly suggest reading over that information before delving into the story. I was also impressed by his forethought in his foreward, which explains his reasoning for using a fictional Roman-like city for his novel. Also the inclusion of maps of Egretia help you as you come to terms with developing a mental image of the city and its layout. All of which only further to create a more comprehensive book, without bogging down the original story with far too much detail and too many explanations.

I really enjoyed the mixture of fantasy, history and mystery in this novel and I would highly recommend this book as a must read. The time has come to take a break from the mean streets of New York, L.A., Washington, D.C. … etc. Felix the Fox might possess a lot of similar personality traits as other successful literary detectives, but trust me, his case will leave you on the edge of your seats and the introduction to his city will leave you wanting to return to find out what happens next.

Reviewer’s note: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Rating

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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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