Authors: Clint McElroy, Carey Pietisch et.al
Publisher: First Second/Roaring Book Press
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 stars
Content Warnings: Cartoon violence and gore
Series: The Adventure Zone #2
Picking up immediately where Here there be Gerblins left off, Taako, Merle, and Magnus get acquainted with the Bureau of Balance on the moon. They receive their first mission as reclaimers, those who retrieve dangerous artifacts so they can be destroyed to protect them from evil hands. They must board the Rockport Express posing as a recently deceased reclaimer who had succumbed to their prize’s tantalizing power.
While eight people boarded the train, only seven survived the journey. Taako, Merle, Magnus, and their new companion Angus McDonald find the decapitated and handless body of the attendant, Jenkins. The rest of the story is a mystery as they try to solve the murder and retrieve their artifact to return it to the moon for destruction.
In addition to our heroes, the passengers include Jenkins, the aforementioned wizard attendant. Angus McDonald is a ten-year-old detective. Jess the Beheader is a professional dwarven wrestler. Graham is a wizard that wants to work on a train. Hudson is the mysterious engineer that drives the train from behind a sealed door. Any one of them could have been the culprit behind the mutilated and burned body that our heroes found.
Murder on the Rockport Express took the concepts from Here there be Gerblins and improved them. This series is not gong to be one that you can start in the middle of, however, so I would recommend reading them in order if this sounds like the book for you. The McElroys’ storytelling and sense of humor blends with Carey Pietisch’s art style for an adventure that isn’t too serious and never loses its charm and sense of humor. If you like fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Monty Python references, clever use of tropes, and fantasy fun, then Murder on the Rockport Express might be for you.