Excellent first novel from Douglas Hulick. The story is written in first person with a single character as a point of view. The prose is concise—something I prefer in my fantasy novels—and manages to keep the descriptions of the surroundings/people to a minimum. Another thing I prefer. There are no dead weight scenes either. Everything is part of the main plot in one way or another.
The setting of the story is your typical feudal-society city with a hint of magic tossed in. The main character is part of the city' underworld, collectively known as the Kin (which kept me thinking about vampires for some reason), who finds himself stumbling across a deeper mystery during what should have been a routine job. He then proceeds to follow the mystery (as he's a Nose, a searcher and filterer of information) to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Naturally, it turns out it's quite a deep hole.
The magic system in the book is of the soft variety. There is a rough explanation how the various forms of magic work, but never any specifics, which is fine. Magic is not the main focus of the book (with the exception of a certain plot point). The interaction and the unraveling of the main mystery is.
Action scenes are frequent, although not necessarily of the violent sort. I enjoyed that the main character isn't some overpowered superhero. He's good at gathering and processing information and posses mystical night vision, but that's it. He can fight, but it's woefully inadequate in comparison to the ones who make fighting their profession.
If you like reading fantasy about heroes who aren't of the upright and just kind, then this is the book for you. Basically every character encountered is dirty in one way or another, even those who are supposed to be upright and just.
Also, read this if you enjoy character who use their head to reach their goals, rather than relying on luck, circumstance, or other crude plot devices. The best novels are the ones where the characters drives the plot, which then in turn drives the characters, which then drives the plot, and so on. This book is basically a mystery set in a fantasy world.
After completing this book I immediately began the next book: Sworn in Steel. Expect a review of that shortly.