Fantasy Fans

SFINCS Review: Blackcap

Welcome to another review as part of the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship, or SFINCS, which I am judging as part of Team Jamreads alongside a cohort of other lovely judges. For my SFINCS reviews, I will be judging each book on the following five criteria: Characters, Setting, Plot, Writing, and Enjoyment with a bonus point for Cover Art and Formatting. This review contains my honest thoughts and does not represent the opinion or final rating of the team.

This review is for Blackcap by Benjamin Aeveryn and is a semi-finalist allocated to Team Jamreads for review.

Kade Blackcap was once a famous detective. Overburdened with guilt at sending a man to the noose, he finds himself unable to take a case for fear of the consequences. But with the taxman breathing down his neck, he has to find work soon, or he’ll lose the house his father left him.
He has one hope left.
Long has he suspected the myths of old were creeping back into the world, and with his detective background he has all the skills to hunt them. But once he finds himself on the trail of a monster, he realises how out of his depth he is.
He might have the skills to track such a creature, but what will he do when he catches up with it?

Find Blackcap on Goodreads

The Review

I’ll preface this review by saying I’ve already read the first book in the Rainfallen series, A Salt in the Wound, so I’ve already had an introduction to this world. Blackcap is a prequel set within the Rainfallen universe and bills itself as a gaslamp noir mystery. When a detective struggles with the horrifying reality of his job, how can he make ends meet?


Blackcap is centered around Kade Blackcap, a detective in gaslamp London. He learned the tricks of the trade from his dad and now pays rent by chasing leads and closing cases. However, his last case ends with a hanging, and while he did great work catching a killer, he feels as though that makes him a killer as well. Kade decides to take a break from sleuthing so he can’t be responsible for any more executions, but the bills still need to be paid. When he hears of a case bordering the supernatural, he decides to investigate – there’s nothing wrong with killing a monster, is there?

Kade is a sensitive soul. Throughout the story, we hear of his internal struggle to stick to what he does best while trying to avoid any cases or leads that would end in a bloody conclusion. His decision making isn’t always the smartest, but his heart is in the right place, and that’s why I loved his character. Kade thinks he’s hunting a monster or a myth, but what he finds may be more than what he bargained for. To explain more of the ‘monster’ would be a spoiler, but I enjoyed learning of their character, too.


The story is set in a gaslamp medieval England in a post apocalyptic world that has been forced backwards due to literal monsters in the rain. It’s an interesting mix that works. This version of London is permanently enshrouded in darkness, with a canvas sheltering the entire city from rain. This is because rain is deadly in this world, as monstrous creatures known as rainwights appear from inside the rain. Typical England, eh? Locals know to keep safe from the wet weather, though it isn’t featured much in this novella. I had the same problem here as I did with Salt in the Wound – the rainwights are cool, but we never see enough of them or really learn of their origins. That’s more stark here, as they’re not explained in this novella at all, so a reader can be forgiven for not understanding them without reading the first book.

That said, gaslamp covered London makes for a perfect noir story!


Of course, with any detective story, there is a victim, a case, and a killer. Kade takes on a new case to find a monster at the heart of a widow’s dead husband and unravel the mystery. Was the husband an unfortunate victim of the rainwights? Or is there more going on? As Kade investigates, he suspects the killer to be more mundane than magical, but as more clues arise, he truly begins to believe in the superstitious. There are a few twists and turns here, and the ending surprised me, as I wasn’t sure where it would end, given Kade’s dilemma about avoiding bloodshed. But the ending fit his character perfectly.


I was drawn into the writing style, which moves at a pace that doesn’t mess around.


As a standalone novella, I think Blackcap is a great introduction to the Rainfallen world, but I would have liked more world building around the rainwights. This is definitely a fantastic read for those who have already read Salt in the Wound. That said, Blackcap begins with an incredibly strong opening that instantly dragged me in and wouldn’t let go until I’d devoured the entire book. The mystery kept me interested throughout and put me in a mood for more detective noir!

Cover Art and Formatting

I absolutely love this cover art! It’s one of my favourites from the competition and captures the gaslamp London.

Final Score: 4.5/5

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