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.
(reviewed the day of purchase)