If you can’t put up with a story that doesn’t start with a bang and careens forward without letting you catch your breath, you might not deem Steve Turnbull’s Murder out of the Blue worth the trouble. You might start on the first few pages and think nothing is happening. Except something is. The rich, descriptive prose is immersing—or rather, permeating—you, into a Steampunk journey that will feel very British Empire and Orient Express, with a Faraday device thrown in.
By the time the body drops on or about the second chapter, not only are you flying along in partial weightlessness in Turnbull’s world, but you have achieved empathy with his lead character, Maliha. Her in-between half-Indian, half-Scott cultural plight has become yours. Her insight and intelligence as she conducts her unofficial, but rather more efficient, sleuthing draws you along as well. In particular you appreciate her sensitivity to the personal situations surrounding the case, and how in many ways, they mirror her own station in life.
I won’t say much more for fear of spoiling the tale. Suffice it to say at its core, this story is a murder mystery embedded in a Steampunk setting. One might be tempted to claim the Steampunk elements are quite beside the point, perhaps artificially injected. I would disagree. In the hands of an able writer such as Turnbull, they lend a certain surreal, other-worldly ethos to the story that serves to at once separate us from historical reality, and to view it in a different, thought-provoking light.
Murder out of the Blue is a short work, of novelette to novella length. It is a completely resolved story that yet supports the full plot arc subsequent stories in the series promise to reveal. Don’t be put off or fooled by the short length either. It packs quite the punch. If nothing else, read it for the way characters interact and converse without any wood in their words. That alone is worth the price of admission. And getting an introduction to an alternative world full of possibilities? That is the prize for the taking.
About The Reviewer
It took Eduardo Suastegui a while to discover he was an artist trapped in an engineer’s body. With formal education in math and science, affirmed through hands-on engineering experience in designing, building, and integrating gadgets of varying complexity, he always kept daydreaming. Throughout his life, that daydreaming fed technological innovation.
More recently, that daydreaming has engendered stories about hackers, rogue AIs, and space travel, with more than a few stories about a dog trainer and her K9s sprinkled in. Eduardo loves to dive into fast-flowing, character-driven stories. With each of the books he reads or writes, he hopes to continue that adventure.
More than anything, through his writing, he hopes to connect with readers. He seeks to share a piece of himself with those who pick up and delve into his work.
Learn more about Eduardo and his work at http://eduardosuastegui.com/