This is a, sometimes unnerving, psychologically thrilling mystery: it has exemplary well done sketches of the nine top performers in the circus where the murdered man was the ring leader. He was also the one who recruited each of them for the circus. He trained them and encouraged them and listened to their stories with the promise of protection. It is this part of the story that must be given a five star review. The conversations between the nine are natural and, though a bit confusing at times - as all conversation among people who are drinking or upset tend to be - are interesting. The end is not the end, but a preface fore the beginning of the following book.
This is a series with a murder mystery as it's corner stone and the stories of the nine as the building blocks.