If you are the sort of person always on the lookout for new fantasy books to read, then you probably already know about Daniel Greene’s YouTube channel. If you haven’t, you should definitely check it out.
Personally, I’m a big fan of his, which is how I came across his debut novella, “Breach of the Peace”, the opening instalment of the Lawful Times series.
It’s a gritty urban fantasy noir that packs an impressive punch into a small number of chapters.
The World & Plot: Orwellian Undertones and Pacing
Daniel Greene expertly balances the limitations of a novella by prioritizing the plot over extensive world-building. While some readers may crave a more in-depth exploration of the world, the choice to sacrifice detailed world-building allows the story to maintain a fast pace.
Daniel Greene stacks plot twist upon plot twist, leaving the reader’s head spinning (in a good way!). Each twist adds layers of complexity to the story, leading the reader deeper into the mysteries of this world with each turn of the page. Cleverly, Greene marries each twist with a new piece of information about the world itself. Using the plot to expand the reader’s understanding of the wider universe these characters inhabit. This is a great technique if the author is trying to keep the worldbuilding tight and the plot fast.
What we do learn about the world is enough to whet the reader’s appetite. While the details are left to the imagination, a sense of the Orwellian pervades the novel, establishing a dystopian atmosphere and putting the reader on edge, while simultaneously giving the world its own character.
The Characters: Love, Partnership and Tension
We are introduced to three detectives in the plot. The protagonist and lead detective, Khlid, her husband and junior, Sam, and the brilliant but awkward Chapman.
Including a husband-and-wife team brings an interesting dynamic to the investigation. Even in the short novel, their relationship is believable and affecting. It was refreshing having detectives bounce ideas off each other and interact, rather than the ‘lone wolf’ investigator being the protagonist as they often are in urban fantasy.
There is, however, one detective who fits the lone wolf description: Chapman. He’s clever, perceptive, and difficult to work with (although he doesn’t mean to be). In other novels, Chapman would be the lead. Chapman is a mysterious, engaging, character that would have been a great lead in another novel. But viewing him through the eyes of Khlid gives the reader an interesting view on the loner detective. Showing the awkwardness of working with such a person and the problems they would cause themselves in their career. It was a pleasant surprise to come across this in an urban fantasy novella.
A Promising Begining
In conclusion, “Breach of the Peace” is a promising debut novella by Daniel Greene. The characters are compelling, the world dystopian and compelling, and the abundance of twists keeps readers engaged. While there are areas that could be further developed if it were a longer work, such as world-building and character depth, the overall experience is positive and hints at the author’s potential as a skilled storyteller. Readers will undoubtedly be eager to see what Daniel Greene has in store for future novellas.
If you are still looking for a new novel, why don’t you check out our list of must-read urban fantasy novels.
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About the Author
Graham Sim hails from North East England, where he divides his time between his wife and kids, and his love of urban fantasy, noir mysteries, and science fiction.
You can read his first book, the urban fantasy noir ‘Screaming in the Shadows’ here.
Graham promises he only refers to himself in the third person in his author bio. He’s odd, but not that odd.