cover image The Mystical Murders of Yin Mara

The Mystical Murders of Yin Mara

Marshall Ryan Maresca. Artemisia, $9.99 e-book (158p) ISBN 978-1-958743-00-3

Maresca (The Assassins of Consequences) returns to his expansive Maradaine universe for this engrossing standalone fantasy. Phadre Golmin and Jiarna Kay, former research faculty at the University of Maradaine, travel to Trenn College in Yin Mara to further their studies. On the way, the couple stumble on a rotted corpse, sparking a fascination in Jiarna, who remains fixated on unraveling the mystery of the man’s death even after arriving at Trenn College. But with Professor Salarmin’s repeated admonishment, she’s forced to halfheartedly abandon the idea—until more rotten bodies turn up. Hoping to put a stop to these murders, Jiarna enlists Phadre and their colleagues to investigate—and their stealthy sleuthing leads them to discover that the culprit might be using a powerful and dangerous magic. The mystery is smart and unexpected, but it’s constrained by this outing’s short length, leaving the buildup feeling somewhat rushed. Still, a shocking reveal makes for a satisfying conclusion, and Maresca’s world feels lived-in as ever. Fans of the constantly expanding Maradaine universe will be enthralled. (Self-published)