3 out of 4 stars
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Inspector Russell Gaines was known for his dominance in closing cases using his unique mage gift. But Russell isn't an inspector anymore; he gave up the title when he failed to bring down the notorious serial killer known as the New Age God. Now only money could bring the down-on-his-luck drunkard back to the scene of a crime.
When he's offered an enormous sum to solve the recent murder that took place in the home of the prestigious Melton family, Russell is quick to jump back into the game. Despite Gaines's intentions to solve the case, he finds the mystery behind Julie Melton and the secret she's keeping even more intriguing. Julie, on the other hand, can see right through the former inspector's charms. But if they could see past each other's flaws and work out their differences, they might be able to work together and close the case once and for all.
Do you like fantasy stories with mages and magic? How about a good murder mystery? If you answered "yes" to both questions, you're going to want to check out Inspector Mage: Blood on the Floor by Aleese Hughes. I loved the concept of blending these two genres to create an engaging murder mystery novel with a bit of magic to help do the solving. Since this was the first novel in the series, there was a lot of world-building in the early chapters, which slowed down the pace initially, but the author quickly pulled the reader into the mystery as the story progressed.
Overall, I enjoyed the plot, and the author's writing was easy to follow. I had a lot of fun gathering the clues and making my guess about what had happened and who committed the crime. I was a little disappointed that the culprit was so easy to figure out. I was not shocked by the plot twist because I had a strong suspicion about who was guilty before I even got to the halfway point in the book, but I did get the satisfaction of being right about my instincts. I had also hoped to see more growth in Russell's character, but he didn't have much of a chance to deal with his addiction in this novel. I hope to see him take positive steps in dealing with his past in future books.
Still, I thought the author did an excellent job of setting the book up for a sequel with even higher stakes and a more complex mystery to solve. Hughes piqued my interest and made me want to read further into the series. I also found no proofreading errors in this well-edited book. Therefore, I rate Inspector Mage three out of four stars. I reduced the rating by one star to reflect the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph.
I'd recommend Inspector Mage to mature teens and college-age readers because the main characters were in their early twenties and thirties, making this book fit better into the New Adult category than Young Adult. The adult characters partook in occasional excessive drinking and drunken behavior. Otherwise, Inspector Mage was free of profanities and erotic content. Adult readers may also enjoy the fantasy-mystery blend and better relate to the mature characters portrayed in the book.
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