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Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold (Allison Newberry Mysteries) Paperback – February 14, 2013
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Mr. Garrett has written a story that actually is Steampunk. Even though it does not take place during the Victorian era, or any alternate-history version thereof, if one were to remove the Steampunk elements the story would not exist.
Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold centers around the death of a man who believed himself to be a god among inventors, one who created his own world and many of the people in it. Like a god, he felt he had the right to manipulate the people in his world. His genius did not come without a price, though. While there were those who worshiped him, he was estranged from his own children. The character study of this megalomaniac is complex and well-developed.
I do wish as much time had been spent on developing the relationship between the two main characters. Though this second book in the Allison Newberry Mysteries is said by its author to work well as a stand-alone novel, the interactions between Allison and Alistair are so snippy at first that I was left wondering what sort of falling-out occurred between them during the first book - and if there wasn't one, then Allison's attitude in this book seems unfounded. Even so, the protagonists work well at balancing each other, and they're both intriguing characters.
One recurring flaw that I hope the author addresses in a future edition is the misuse of the word "frock." Throughout the book it is used to refer to a coat - which would more correctly have been called a "frock coat", as the word "frock" by itself means "dress" or "gown."
The murder itself and the characters' methods of solving this crime make for a fascinating, tense, and challenging plot. I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to young adults and adults who like their mysteries with more than a hint of Steampunk.
Along the way, a cast of many different characters comes into play and as you begin to learn their relationship with the deceased, you may think you know who the killer is, but, guess again. The plot flowed so smoothly and the characters were so well developed that I only wish there were more books like this.
When they finally emerge, they are happy to have escaped with their lives.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys adventure, suspense and action!