John Sinister gaped at the tortoiseshell tabby.
“You can talk,” he managed.
“That’s right, I can talk.”
“But… You can talk.”
“Evidently. As can you, just about.”
“You’re a talking cat?”
“I feel like we’ve been over this. Yes, I’m a talking cat.”
“Yes, but… You can talk?”
The cat sighed. He walked forward a little. “Look, if it helps, I’m not a real cat.”
“You look real.”
“Well of course I look real. I’m meant to look real. And in the purely existential sense, I am real. I’m just not a real cat.”
“So what are you then?”
“I’m a self-regulating automaton running an experimental analysis engine. I’m capable of independent motion, independent thought, and I may well be the smartest creature in this house. At the very least I’m the smartest half of this conversation. Got it?”
John Sinister is not having a good week. Hired to look into some shady going on at the airship factory, his investigation has barely begun before people start dying. Pretty soon he finds himself on the wrong side of some fairly unpleasant people, and that’s before he meets the worlds one and only autonomous automaton, Dexter the cat. That’s when things get complicated.
Welcome to the world of Dexter & Sinister : Detecting Agents.
Dexter & Sinister is a steampunk murder mystery set in 1800s Hammersmyth, a city in the grip of the Great Steam Revolution. The first in a planned series of novels, it is what I like to call Emerging Steampunk, in that the world our main characters inhabit is not so different from how you might expect Victorian England to be. Yes, they have radiophones and transatlantic airships, but no mechanical horses (yet).
I wrote Dexter & Sinister to be accessible to all, from those familiar with the genre, to those who’ve never dipped their toe in the steampunk waters before. A light, enjoyable read, it steers clear of the whole dark dystopia thing, and instead concentrates on the fun and imaginative side of storytelling. As far as I’m concerned reading should be an escape, so wallowing in misery is just not my cup of tea.
I’ve always been a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and how he was able to tackle important topics whilst at the same time begin fun and entertaining to read. It’s something I have tried to emulate in my writing, and if I’ve been able to distill even an ounce of his genius into my work then as far as I’m concerned I’ll have done good job.
Being a murder mystery I can’t give too much away, it’s up to you to figure out whodunnit, but if all that sounds like your kind of thing you can buy Dexter & Sinister as either a paperback or e-book through Amazon.
And if you’re still not convinced then do have a read of the short story, Dexter vs Mr Nibbles, available now for free on this very website.
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