A boy vanishes. But not just any boy.
1899 years after the Catastrophe, Bridges is owned by the Mob. As the city's steam-driven infrastructure fails, a new faction rises: the Red Dogs.
Jacqueline Spadros is haunted by her best friend Air's death, killed as he tried to stop her sale to the Spadros crime syndicate ten years ago. Now in an unwilling marriage to the city's biggest drug lord, she secretly runs a small-time private eye business to earn enough money to escape.
Air's little brother disappears from his back porch. And now someone is following Jacqui.
Dark, gritty, psychological, multi-layered Victorian-inspired far future detective noir that keeps the reader guessing to the very end.
From the author:
The Jacq of Spades is the first chapter of the Red Dog Conspiracy steampunk crime family saga.
My vision for Red Dog Conspiracy is that there is a yet undiscovered gender-flipped detective noir miniseries set in a future world - a steampunk dystopia under a dome in the heart of the former US. This series tells that story.
Lovers of Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Bosch, or the Sherlock Holmes mysteries will enjoy this debut novel of the Red Dog Conspiracy series from "The Queen of Steampunk Noir" ....
What readers say about The Jacq of Spades:
"... a world of family intrigue combined with feuding households across the four quadrants of Bridges..." June Lorraine Roberts, Murder In Common
"This was the first steampunk book that I've read that I actually really loved." Gabby's Honest Book Reviews
"For rich pageantry and a complex culture navigated by a character who feels she’s balanced on the edge between the slums of the Pot and the extravagance of the families, The Jacq of Spades is a hands-down success." Margaret Fisk, Tales To Tide You Over
"... good read for anyone who likes mystery and suspense mixed with science fiction." The Beautyful Word
The Jacq of Spades is part 1 of a 13-part serial novel:
The Jacq of Spades
About the Author
Patricia Loofbourrow, MD is an SFF and non-fiction writer, PC gamer, ornamental food gardener, fiber artist, and wildcrafter who loves power tools, dancing, genetics and anything to do with outer space. She was born in southern California and has lived in Chicago and Tokyo. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three grown children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Intriguingly dark Magnificent characters are intertwined in this gritty journey into the life of Jacqi. Haunted and forcibly married to a drug lord, she looks for any freedom from her life. It's a guise of the Victorian era, filled with twists and turns that keeps the pages turning. Extremely vibrant and dark at the same time. The hunt for the kidnapped little brother keeps Jacqi focused and hopeful. It's a grand journey where the reader is invited along. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
Bridge is an isolated domed city divided into four quadrants each of which is controlled by a crime family who manufactures and distributes a drug known as “Party Time”. Each of the four quadrants contains affluent areas, areas known as the “pot” which are areas of the city that were destroyed during previous warfare between factions, and the slums where the very poorest people live. The crime families establish the economic systems for their quadrants and large portion of the population are starving. Large scale poverty and continual competition and mistrust among the families make Bridge a proverbial powder keg for violence. One quadrant is ruled by the Spadros family. Jacqueline Spadros is the twenty-two bride of Spadros heir-apparent Tony Spadros. Jacqui was raised in the Spadros Pot in a brothel and she has a multitude of reasons to mistrust and detest Spadros patriarch Roy Spadros. She knows if anything happened to her husband, Tony, Roy would not allow her to continue as part of the family. Because of this, she has taken on a secret business of her own; that of private detective. When Jacqui is contacted by a woman whose son, David, has disappeared she is surprised to learn that she knew the woman many years earlier and that the death of her older son plays a key role in Jacqui’s nightmares. Although the woman does not recognize Jacqui at first, Jacqui cannot resist trying to find David for his mother, partly to ease her own guilt left over from the death of the older boy. What transpires is a mystery story of the first order in the best tradition of Sherlock Holmes. Jacqui is a young woman in a precarious position who must uphold a social image, deal with her husband’s and the family patriarch’s expectations, deal with inter-familial politics, run a household, find David and stay alive in her spare time. How she manages this is remarkable and makes a first-rate mystery story. All of the characters are believable and the reader is left satisfied up until the end. Unfortunately, this book is a serial series; the reader must throw in another nickel for the next installment to achieve any satisfaction as far as finding out who did it. I am not a fan of serial series and strike the names of authors who use that method off my reading list. This story, however, is well written and well edited. I noticed no textual errors to distract me from the story. The Jacq of Spades is an all-around excellent mystery story that should appeal to any lover of mysteries, crime action, or to fans of stories about life in dystopian cultures. The end is a letdown for those, like me, who think readers deserve to know who did it in the end. That of course is the nature of the serial series and that, alone, will cost it a star.
I'll have to admit that the designation of steampunk scared me a little bit although the reason I decided to read the book was because the summary was interesting. I soon realized that designation is because of technology running on steam power. The author did a great job setting the tone of mystery and the harsh environment. The characters are authentic, lovable/unlikable, and realistic. Jacqui has learned some hard lessons in short life but still carries on. She is realizing that despite her desire not to that she loves Tony. She is a survivor that carries around the guilt of her friend's loss very closely. As the story progresses, the reader is shown snippets of the past memories that explain why she feels so guilty. Jacqui has to sneak out to do her investigating business and learns that the repercussions her actions can be very detrimental to those around her. Her father-in-law Roy and others like him are beyond cruel and ruthless when society rules aren't followed. I also liked that the author included a brief glossary of the people organized by families and found it very helpful. Overall, good read for anyone who likes mystery and suspense mixed with science fiction. I can't wait to read the second book!
In The Jacq of Spades Patricia Loofbourrow manages to spin a tale that keeps you guessing right up until the very end. There was always just enough uncertainty about clues to keep you slightly off-balance and make you doubt your conclusions. Add in the fact that the main character is an intelligent, strong woman who could drink more than a few men under the table, and you have a story that is almost irresistible. Now, this novel is technically Steampunk, but its not heavily mentioned. There aren't a lot of cool gadgets mentioned, but there's talk of Inventors and the mechanisms that make the city work. I won't go into too much detail, just felt it was best to let the readers know that this wasn't a heavily fantastical story. This lack of obvious 'punkery does nothing bad to the story, though. Its mentioned at the appropriate moments, but you don't spend your time ooh'ing and aah'ing over gizmos because you're completely wrapped up in the mystery that's unfolding. The Jacq of Spades hooked me immediately, almost against my will, and pushed me through a story that both captivated and puzzled me. I don't even have any major critiques worth mentioning in this review. That should tell you something. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a unique combination of Sherlock Holmes-like detection, Mafia families and steampunk. What's not to like? Jacqueline Spadros is the wife of a Mafia boss, Anthony. The Spadros family is one of four ruling families in Bridges. Jacq is a former pot-rag, brought up from the poorest of the poor in the quadrant. Raised in a brothel, now she has to be the perfect lady. On the side, Jacq has a detective business, trying to help those from the Pot with their petty problems. When the younger brother of her childhood friend is kidnapped, Jacq has no choice but to get involved. The depth in this book is amazing. I will admit that listening to the book on Audible was difficult at times, because the story is told from Jacq's viewpoint. Her frequent flashbacks/memories jump into the current story and it is often hard to keep track. Also, there are a lot of characters and names to keep track of, which would probably be easier with a written book instead of audio. The characters are well-developed, the intrigue is palpable and the scenery is dark and gloomy. This book is obviously one of many to be set in this world and I look forward to reading more of the series. The ending leaves a lot of room for further adventures. The narrator does a great job, also. I was given the opportunity to listen to this book and chose to review it