Small Crimes by Toby Keen
In the dangerous and fantastical city of Cascus Purgamen, we follow the rise of sardonic, but deep-down kind-hearted Hieronymus Aldert from drunk ex-soldier to acting captain of the city guard. There is a murder to be solved, an evil corporation to thwart, and, for some reason, the mayor of the city has decided that Hieronymus is the man for the job. Aided by his goblin manservant Scree, and a motley crew of new police recruits, including the young noble Casimir Pendragon, dwarf Orion, ‘vegetarian’ vampire Drac, and several others, Hieronymus must cobble together a police force from scratch, solve the murder of a banker committed by a weapon he’s never seen before (one which somehow leaves smoking holes in its victims), and perhaps even find time for a little romance with a human woman amusingly named Bosch. Standing in his way are thugs and criminal organizations of all sorts, most particularly a dangerous mage named Vile Eyes and the powerful corporation Pandora. As Hieronymus continues his investigation, he finds out that there is a lot more at stake than the murder of a single banker. He’ll need all his wits and luck (along with a heaping dose of sarcasm) to stop what’s coming if he hopes to keep his city safe.
When reading Toby Keen’s Small Crimes, it becomes quite apparent that he has a love for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and it shows in his amusing style and sharp footnotes. The book takes inspiration from Pratchett’s Night Watch storyline, most notably Men At Arms, though there are enough differences in the plot to make it worth reading for its own sake. The world building and characters are fully realized and fleshed out, making it a transporting read that will take you on a fascinating ride to another reality.
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