Start with a taste of Sherlock Holmes. Add a pinch of Frankenstein, season in steampunk, and leaven with an STD that transforms men into women and women into men (if it doesn’t kill you outright). Congratulations! You have cooked up The Constantine Affliction by T. Aaron Payton.
I enjoyed this novel immensely. Frankly, I left out a number of things that Payton manages to include in his world from the above description in the interest of avoiding spoilers. At one point in the novel one of the main characters says that for him to fall in love with a woman, she would have to be capable of surprising him regularly, and honestly it seemed like he wasn’t talking about women so much as this book. Just about when you get a handle on how this world works, Payton tends to throw in a new element or character to keep you guessing.
Judging by the fact that there is a series name attached to the book wherever I find it, I assume that Payton has more on the way, but you could never tell from the ending. The novel wraps itself up very satisfactorily, while still leaving room for the characters to grow and change. Highly recommended.
(The only downside to this novel is that at the time of this writing it’s pretty badly overpriced on Amazon. I got it from the library, and you can find a much more reasonably priced, not to mention DRM-free, version at Baen Ebooks.)
The plot summary contains spoilers! Show it anyway.