De Bodard uses the tropes of a classic procedural mystery to take us through her fantasy Aztec world. Our protagonist investigates a murder, which proves to be the string that eventually unravels plots and machinations that extend far beyond the obvious fatality. Think Chandler or “Chinatown”.
Her vision of Aztec society is fascinating. The gods and monsters are all too real. Cruel beings which at their most compassionate must be bribed into allowing human existence. Sacrifices of blood and pain are necessities to ensure the survival of the world itself.
“Obsidian and Blood” is an omnibus collecting all three of her novels in this mythos, as well as some short stories. It is very very bloody and horrific at times. If that poses no problem, these books are highly recommended for readers looking for something outside the common faux European fantasy settings.