I am not usually a mystery book reader, but I was recommended this book and I love history I thought I would give it a read. Right off the bat I have to say that I really liked the style that this book was written in. It doesn't start out like a detective story, and it never really feels too much like a hard boiled mystery. The mystery plays a part in creating the atmosphere of a historical fiction set during the Civil War. Our narrator, Kit, has played his part in the early battles but has ended up in the Provost Marshall's service investigating deserters, faulty equipment and other more mundane aspects of running a war. He gets dragged into a murder investigation under his boss, Valentine Burdett.
Mrazek has a very obvious grounding in classic mystery/detective stories. About halfway through the book, the mammoth Burdett makes some amazing deductions about a character's occupation based on the musculature of the hand, half hidden medical implements, and general carriage. It reminded me a lot of Sherlock Holmes, although our friend Kit is no Doctor Watson. If you are a fan of Holmes, these characters read more like Mycroft and a younger, more jaded Doctor Watson.
What I liked most about this book, is that it had more depth to it than a flat out mystery. Action, adventure, murder, and romance. What more could you want? Admittedly, I am occasionally a sucker for a good romance, and this one certainly satisfied that slightly sappy, romantic side of my brain.
The only downside of the story is that the epilogue is pretty abrupt and a new interesting character is added only to give our narrator someone to talk to. I would have liked to know more about her, maybe her own story or a sequel. Spunky females shouldn't be added 5 pages before the book ends, but I can't fault Mrazek for creating compelling characters. All in all a very enjoyable read for history buffs and mystery fans alike.