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The Jacq of Spades (The Red Dog Conspiracy) (Volume 1)

by Patricia Loofbourrow

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238805,200 (3.78)None
The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is split between four crime families in an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems. Kidnapped from her mother's brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.Air's little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Really cool concept in a well-built world, but there was just a little too much. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Jan 31, 2020 |
There’s a lot going on in this book, maybe too much. Jacqueline (Jacqui) Spadros is married to Tony Spadros, the son of one of the ruling families of Bridges. She herself comes from the poor, the ‘Pot’. Jacqui has some sort of private detective business going on on the side, very secret. Then there’s a dangerous illegal drug, Party Time, going around. Plus there’s a missing boy. Then there’s the whole setting.

Basically, I was intrigued by it all but had little time to figure one thing out before something else was thrown at me. The setting kept throwing me for a loop. It feels little historical, a little steampunky, a little dystopian. I like all those things but never got a firm grasp on what the domed city of Bridges was all about.

Plenty of the characters held my interest. Of course, Jacqui is front and center. Now the tale does jump back and forth a bit, telling me in small snippets about Jacqui’s past. However, this confused me sometimes as to what was going on in the present. Jacqui has had all this training from Tony’s dad before she and Tony were married – everything from dressing like a lady to hand guns. She and Tony have been married for 3 years and it’s sometimes been good and sometimes not. I would have liked this story more if we had seen Jacqui in action more instead of simply being told what she can do.

There’s Jacqui’s contacts and friends and family that are still in the Pot that add flavor to the tale. Her husband Tony isn’t as limited as he first appears to be. Tony’s dad is a right jerk and I look forward to seeing his demise (I hope) later in the series. Though I still feel like I missed something when it came to him lashing out at Jacqui’s maids.

Jacqui’s secret private eye stuff felt over the top. We already have a lot going on in the story and then we toss this in. Jacqui references previous cases she’s solved but I kept wondering how she managed to do that plus keep it secret plus all the training she does for Family Spadros plus just being a lady, etc. I hope this side of her character gets filled out as the series goes forward.

So all together, I wanted more from the story by trimming things down. I did enjoy it and I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here. 3.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Machelle Williams was OK as the narrator. Her pacing is a bit slow. She does have a good voice for Jacqui. Her female voices were good but her male character voices were sometimes OK and sometimes they sounded like women. There were plenty of emotions in this story and sometimes Williams portrayed them well and sometimes her narration was a little stiff and dead. 3.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Patricia Loofbourrow. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Jun 12, 2018 |
Jacqueline Spadros lives in Bridges and is married into a wealthy crime family. She runs a private investigator business on the side. When she was younger, her friend Air died and she is still haunted by this. When his little brother goes missing, she sets out to find him. I enjoyed this book. It was a good mystery and I loved the use of playing cards in the names. Jacqueline was a good character, she lives in a world where women are supposed to do as they are told, but she still tries to have her own life and help people through her business. I would recommend this book. ( )
  skgregory | May 25, 2018 |
This was a tough review for me due to the book being outside my usual genre. Had it been more of my usual flavor, I might have given it 4 stars, because I'm a pretty picky reader. The fact that it kept me reading despite that fact is a testament to the author's outstanding writing. There were a few things that I didn't care for. There are frequent flashbacks that give is insight to our heroine's past mixed in with the narrative. The use of bold instead of italicized words to denote emphasis on a word was odd and a little distracting. The manuscript was very clean but not spotless. I found a couple of minor typos but nothing egregious. The story is about a woman raised from the slums to become the wife of a major mafia family head. Apparently, she does some side business as a detective of sorts, in this instance, to find a missing boy. The main character is fantastically portrayed, her emotions and actions and dialogue seamlessly crafted. ( )
  Brock883 | Mar 19, 2018 |
I love Victorian detectives like Sherlock Holmes! Jacqui is no Sherlock Holmes, but she is a delight, and the world that the author has created is as much a character as Jacqui. I love the creative quirks, like the fact that the four ruling families of Bridges are The Spadros, The Diamonds, The Clubbs, and the Harts. The way that each family has a unique look running about them. It is subtle and takes a moment to realize what the author is doing.

Following Jacqui through the present case, which pulls on much of her past, and sets up greater events to come, is a breath-taking chase through the brilliantly blended world that the author created. I have to be honest, I don't think I have actually read steampunk before, but I have watched Steampunk anime, and have wanted to read steampunk books. The author ticks several boxes of what I understand to be steampunk, but it is not super technical (what left me afraid of reading steampunk for so long!) I am eager to read the next books in The Red Dog Conspiracy!

The world feels very much like the dark underbelly of Victorian fashion and style, with a gritty mafioso vibe. ( )
  HeidiAngell | Jul 29, 2017 |
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The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is split between four crime families in an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems. Kidnapped from her mother's brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.Air's little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.

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