Forensic science and methodical investigation are not the first things to spring to mind when you consider the Aztec Empire, though with all those human sacrifices and heart ripping ceremonies I am guessing their priests would eventually have taken some intersting in how bodies stop functioning.
In Servant of the Underworld Aliette De Bodard creates Axayactl the Aztec answer to William of Baskerville or possibly Grissom of Vegas. A priest responsible for ensuring the safe and proper journey of the recently departed into the realm of death who becomes involved in solving the murder of a temple priestess. Magic and Gods become tools of forensic divination and there is no easy get out in the plot here. As the world created feels integral to the story and pushes the detective progress of the main character into mysteries and responsibilities as Gods endeavor to shift their own power and bargains are struck to appease or abate.
The mystical Aztec setting had every opportunity to become a tongue twisting and convoluted mish mash of vowels and golden thingies. Fortunately none of this occurs as day to day temple life and the duties of its citizens are described you can feel the richness of this bloody empire without once tripping over some unpronounceable God or location.
This is Book 1 in a trilogy and I am eager to get my hands on the next book when it is released.
Servant of the Underworld is available from Amazon and is published by Angry Robot Books
Thanks for Reading.