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Spy for a Greedy Villain (The Adventures of Grant Scotland Book 4) Kindle Edition
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Lucky for Grant, he doesn't have much time to feel sorry for himself. Sam, the local constable and Grant's friend, recruits him for an investigation into the mysterious murder of the harbormaster. The murder of an official appointed by the crown has political and practical implications for all of Aelfa. If Grant and Sam don't handle the investigation discreetly and skillfully, many ordinary Aelfans could get hurt. The investigation leads Grant to uncover a plot that involves those in the highest levels of power and could tear Aelfa apart.
One of the stand out characters in this volume is Cole. We met Cole in volume 3, Spy for a Wayward Daughter, but he really comes into his own in this volume. In some ways, he's Grant's better self. He stands up for the oppressed and is loyal but not a fool. He keeps Grant honest and pushes Grant to make some decisions that just might lead to a slightly more meaningful life, as long as he doesn't screw it up. (I'm not holding my breath.)
There is something for everyone in this volume: humor, a murder mystery, political intrigue, magic, new spy gadgets, a complex but believable plot, non-cheesy romance, and bone crunching fight scenes. As usual, the plot is tight and the pacing is perfect. It evolves out of the real and practical problems of the characters but those problems make you care about the plots twists. It's a real page turner and when it's done you'll be left wanting more. At the end of the book, Grant is moving closer and closer to the center of the storm that is brewing over his world and I can't wait to see what happens next.
One problem with Grant's supporting cast is representation. There are a total of two female characters in the book (not counting serving maids/wives of secondary characters/etc.). One is damseled, and the other is Grant's recurring romantic interest. While Sylvyr is a bad-ass, she does often feel like she exists only to act as the sexy significant other. If we're going to continue to grow the cast in future books I would love to see more women added and in more meaningful ways.
While the conflict of this book was fun (a murder mystery mixed in with politics and black market dealings! An invisible man!) it did feel like a bit of a step back after the larger scale of conflict in the last book. It's clear Mr. McClure is bringing pieces into position to start really shaking things up in Aelfa, and I look forward to that happening, but it didn't make this book feel very high-stakes. Not that every conflict has to be the end of the world! It was still a fun read.
Once again I find myself looking forward to the next novel in the series. Grant's situation is getting more and more precarious (but he's also amassing an interesting collection of magical artifacts). Things will likely come to a head soon, and only time will tell how Grant's wit and fighting dirty will get him out of it next time.