Archive for Simon R. Green

From a Drood to a Kill

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Reviews, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2015 by crookedreviews

courtesy of Amazon.comObligatory SPOILERS message be here. This book just came out so if you haven’t read it, skip this review.

Ah Simon. I do adore your writing. I am so sad that you’re going to be wrapping up your Secret Histories, Nightside and Ghost Finders novels. If you haven’t heard (and I think I may have posted on this earlier this year…? Maybe?), Simon R. Green has been diagnosed with diabetes and in anticipation of that perhaps having health complications, he is wrapping up his series quicker than he originally planned. He is then going to write individual novels a la Shadows Fall.

At any rate, I just finished up From a Drood to a Kill. This novel picks up, naturally, where the last one left off. Eddie’s parents are missing and he is heading to Drood Hall to demand they help him. Eddie and Molly make a right mess of the Hall and a bunch of Droods who, in theory, know how to fight but in reality just don’t Eddie’s skills. They make it to the Sanctity where they bargain with Maggie, the current Matriarch, for Drood help.

Since Eddie wants their resources for a private quest, he needs to do one for them. And only Eddie. Molly gets sidelined, which she isn’t happy about, but she takes the time to go visit her equally impressive and troublesome sisters, Isabelle and Louisa (or is it Isabella and Louise? Can’t remember and too lazy to go back and find the right page to check). It seems that some intelligence is leaking from Britain’s latest high tech listening station, nicknamed the Big Ear. No, I don’t know who came up with that name. Its a little ridiculous. Okay, it’s a lot ridiculous.

The mission delivered and agreed to, the Armourer (Jack Drood and my personal fav.), gives Eddie his old Bentley (man, I wish I had that car. It would be awesome) for the trip. The Bentley is much more than just a car. Or even much more than one of James Bond’s cars. It can travel through dimensions, among other things, so it allows for a trip across Britain much quicker than driving a regular vehicle or taking a train.

Of course, the mission starts out with a bump. The Bentley gets sidetracked, kidnapped to the subtle realms by a group of rogue fae that includes a former aunt of Eddie’s, Melanie Blaze. Eddie preps himself for a fight, because faeries don’t just give up, when Melanie…just gives up. She lets him go when just moments before she was planning on using him as a bargaining chip with the Drood (good luck with that). Utterly perplexed, Eddie completes his mission without having to kill anyone (his new vow, tough one to keep for a Drood).

When he finishes, he finds out exactly why Melanie gave up so easily. The one Drood she’d really wanted to deal with, the Armourer Jack Drood, died. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not Jack! I was so upset by this! Even though it was established that Jack was really quite old, it was a hard it. It was such a likeable character. Luckily enough, it wasn’t murder (which is something of an issue with Droods) but just old age. Rare that an agent can die peacefully at home.

After a solemn ceremony on the Drood estate, a wake for friends (plus Eddie and Molly) gets held at the Wulfshead, Eddie’s usual club. People come from all walks of life to say goodbye to Jack in grand, drunken fashion. Including Cedric Drood, the Sergeant-at-arms, that Eddie doesn’t get along with in the least. They put their animosity aside for the night to celebrate Jack’s life. Eddie learns there was more to his beloved uncle than he ever knew. It doesn’t make him feel good, that he didn’t even bother to learn these things. He always thought he’d have the time to talk to Jack more, I suppose.

After the party, which goes off without a hitch oddly enough, Molly gets kidnapped. Right out of the Wulfshead, which is supposed to be impossible. Angry, grieving for his uncle, Eddie goes on a tear to find her. Kidnapped by the grandiosely (and self) named Powers That Be, Eddie kicks arse and takes names as he tries to find their home base of the Shifting Lands.

Molly has been kidnapped for the Big Game. A supposedly private and hush-hush event strictly for the Powers That Be and their amusement. They kidnap people who owe debts so large (usually on their soul and/or body) to powerful beings (Heaven, Hell, Powers, Dominations. You name it, they’ve probably done it) that they could never repay those debts even in death. Like Molly, who made deals upon deals with Good and Bad in order to gain the power to destroy the Droods for killing her parents.

The Big Game is a fight to the death and the last one standing has all of their debts paid for by the Powers That Be. To make things interesting, the Shifting Lands are ever changing based on the mood and force of will the players can enforce upon it. One minute, it can be your place of power, the next it might be your opponent’s place of power.

I won’t give away what happens with that. Its really too good and I wouldn’t do it justice. It was obvious from the writing that this series is, indeed (and sadly), winding down. That doesn’t make it any less interesting or well written though. In most cases of Simon’s writing, I would say you really don’t need to read the previous book to get the gist of this one. And while that is true to a certain extent with From a Drood to a Kill, I think it would definitely make more sense if you read Casino Infernale before reading this book. That one was absolutely amazing and the events in that have a direct impact on those in From a Drood to a Kill. Hell, I suggest you read the whole damn series. Its so much fun and the titles are delightful puns on James Bond titles. Rating: A.

Shadow’s Fall

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Reviews, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by crookedreviews

Courtesy of Goodreads.comThe of the many things I love about Simon R. Green is that his novels, even if they are stand alone books, are all interconnected in some way. For instance Shadow’s Fall takes place in the same world as the Nightside and Secret Histories series. They share a few of the same characters in Father Time and his self-appointed assistant Mad.

Shadow’s Fall is the town where legends go to die. Rock star that’s tired of the world? Pulp fiction hero that no one remembers? Beloved children’s show characters that people don’t watch any more? You’ll find them all and more in Shadow’s Fall. Its a place where people who aren’t ready to move on can pass the time until they’re ready to move on to whatever is next. Some people are even born in Shadow’s Fall, like James Hart.

Our story begins with James returning to Shadow’s Fall after the death of his parents in a car accident. He doesn’t remember a thing about this town where he’s supposedly from. He doesn’t have much in the way of memories before about the age of ten or so but the last will of his parents was that he return to the town where he was born.

Unfortunately for James, he didn’t exactly get a warm welcome. There is some sort of prophecy around James, but nobody’s exactly sure what it is though there seems to be a lot of death and destruction about it.  Everyone is along for the ride, trying to figure out what’s going to go wrong before it all goes wrong. There are shenanigans galore, including some with Bruin Bear and the Sea Goat, both of whom have been in the Deathstalker Series and the Nightside Series. The Sea Goat is my man. Or my goat as the case may be. I adore that character.

If you’re looking for a good stand alone modern fantasy novel, I highly, highly recommend this one. I love this book and as much as I kind of want to know what happens next, I’m mostly glad that it is it’s own book. So many novels are multi-book arcs these days that it’s refreshing to have a stand alone. Not that I hate multi-book arcs (see my Dresden Files reviews etc), but sometimes I like that ah, I’m finished and it’s all nicely wrapped up feeling you get when you reach the end of a standalone novel. And, like I mentioned, there’s all of Green’s little inside jokes that you have to be a fan in order to get. Love Simon R. Green and love this book. Rating: A

Ghost Finders

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2015 by crookedreviews

Courtesy of goodreads.comSo I love Simon R. Green. He’s one of my all time favorite authors. It saddens me that he’s wrapping up his amazing series before he’d planned to because he has diabetes and he’s afraid he’ll leave his fans hanging. I’m not sure if his diabetes is currently manageable or life threatening, but its sad that he feels he has to do that. On the other hand, when it comes to his Ghost Finders series…I’m kinda okay with it. I’d classify this more as an urban horror/fantasy than a straight up urban fantasy novel, if only because Simon R. Green can get amazingly graphic with his descriptions.

The Ghost Finders work for the Carnacki Institute. Their job is to deal with ghosts and all ghostly related situations in Britain. Apparently this is quite the job. Our three main characters are JC Chance, “Happy” Jack Palmer and Melody Chambers. JC is your typical smooth, charming leader type. In the first book, he gets touched by something from the Outside and now hides a strange golden gaze with a pair of sunglasses.

Happy Jack isn’t very happy at all. Its an ironic nickname, like calling a tall man Tiny. Happy is a telepath, a very strong one. He’s also a coward, and the combination leads to him trying everything and anything chemical to be able to live with himself and the voices he hears. He’s currently sleeping with teammate Melody Chambers, who firmly believes that her tech can do and should do everything they could possibly think of on a mission. And she gets mighty pissed when it doesn’t. She’s a kick-ass tech geek who doesn’t take anyone’s shit.

I like those three characters. I like the dialogue he gives them and the way that he writes them as a dysfunctional buy loyal team. Their cases, though, are only mildly interesting. And there’s some sort of overarching conspiracy going on that I just can’t be arsed to care about. He could wrap this series up tomorrow honestly. I’ll still read it, but it’s more of a ‘Oh, I don’t have anything else to read and there’s a new Ghost Finders out’ sort of way than a ‘OMG, new Simon R. Green!’ sort of way.

If you really want good Simon R. Green, go for the Deathstalker series, the Nightside series and the Secret Histories series. Oh, and Hawk & Fisher natch. The nice thing about Simon is that all of his stories are subtly connected. Its amazing. Every time I read one of his books and he’s slipped in something from another novel, I have a fan girl squee moment. So, those are great. The Ghost Finders? I’d say Rating: CNot great but not unreadable.

And we’re back!

Posted in Books, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2015 by crookedreviews

I’m sorry for the long delay folks. Its been a rough few months for me. But I’ve decided to actually do a New Years resolution for 2015 (normally I don’t bother). I’m going to try and publish one review a week, likely on the weekends (yay laundry time!). First some news!

courtesy of goodreads.comFor those of you who are fans of Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files (<3), the man himself is doing a steampunk series! Holy crap, I am so excited about this! He’s calling this the Cinder Spires and according to his twitter (@longshotauthor), its off to the editors! Of course, it’ll be a long while going through polishing before it gets released, but its written!

Second, for the Simon R. Green lovers among you (me included), we have found out that there are three more Secret Histories novels on the books, the last of which will be a war between the Droods and the Nightside! Go Nightside. :-D The titles are: Dr. DOA, Moonbreaker and Night Fall, in accordance with his James Bond themed books. Apparently we are getting just three more Secret Histories because Mr. Green has diabetes and is worried that he would leave us all hanging, should complications arise. After that he’ll be writing single novels or trilogies. I hope he continues writing for a very long time.

Gail Carriger has recently released Wasitcoats & Weaponry, the third installment of her Finishing School series. The next generation of the Parasol Protectorate will kick off in March. Featuring Prudence, the daughter of Lord and Lady Maccon. Apparently this series will be christened the Custard Protocol, the name of which made my husband decide it was the best series ever without having read any of Ms. Carriger’s awesome books. :)

Property of a Lady Faire

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Reviews, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by crookedreviews

 

Property of a Lady Faire

Property of a Lady Faire

Spoilers be here. Faire (see what I did there?) warning since this is a relatively new book. Property of a Lady Faire is the latest in Simon R. Green’s Secret History novels. We start out with plucky hero Edwin Drood running from the guardians of the Vatican’s secret vaults. The guardians look like nuns and priest to begin with and then, with how he wrote it, turned in to Ringwraiths (or similar). Eddie was charged with replacing a book that the Droods felt the Vatican shouldn’t have access to. It would just upset them.

With his mission on the brink of success, Eddie uses the Merlin Glass to escape to Soho in London where he has another job. Something or someone is selling secrets from the Wulfshead Club. Since the Wulfshead is rather Vegas like in that whatever is done or said there, stays there, the management is understandable upset. And they want to get to the bottom of it. So they call Eddie in under the guise of his alter ego, Shaman Bond.

Shaman schmoozes among the clients, listening to what is and isn’t being said and is right in time for shit to go down (naturally, as he is the star of the book). People start disappearing and Eddie uses a bit of his golden torc to See that there is something wrong with the many, many televisions in the Club. Something is reaching through and snatching people because what is better than listening to secrets? Getting them directly from the source (or sources as they’re snatching damn near all the patrons).

Eddie gets mad and confronts the possessed tellys (that’s British slang for TVs, fellow Yanks). He makes it quite clear that everyone is to be returned to the club unharmed and this insidious surveillance removed or he will get very upset. Suddenly, violently and all over the place. That all said and done, everyone is returned and we find out that the government is behind the whole thing (the representative being old pal Alan Diment who really doesn’t like Eddie or the Droods).

The Club management thanks Eddie, tells him that they owe him a favor and drop him off directly on the grounds of Drood Hall. This is something that shouldn’t be able to happen so Eddie (and the family) are necessarily worried. They’ve had a lot of attacks on the Hall recently after all. So Eddie ambles on up to the Hall, collecting Molly on the way and goes to meet the family council. He doesn’t really want to, he rather hates the bureaucracy, but his grandmother left him something in her will (of course, she did die several books ago but there are traditions to be maintained apparently).

Among other things, the Matriarch appointed her sister (the gardener) as Matriarch because she feels the family needs a Matriarch and she leaves Eddie a box. This box is rather like a mini monolith from 2001/2010 in that they haven’t been able to open or scan it. Its set so only Eddie can open it and he doesn’t really want it, not the least because the Matriarch’s will specifically stated that it is something that will make him undisputed head of the family (I can’t wait to see what this turns out to be). Eddie basically tells the lot of them to shove off (again) and leaves with the box in tow (he may not want it but he doesn’t want any of them to have it either).

Business done, he and Molly go to visit his grandfather, the Regent of Shadows. They want to know why he killed Molly’s parents (who, from what I understand, were not good people at all). Unfortunately, they’re too late. Someone has taken down his organization, every last one of them, including the Regent himself. Which really should have been impossible since he had Kayleigh’s Eye physically implanted in his chest.

The thing that did that (referred to as the Voice by Eddie because they have no way of telling what it is beyond the voice they’re hearing) wants Eddie to retrieve the Lazarus Stone or else Eddie’s parents are dead. Again. Well, for realsies this time. Neither Eddie nor Molly know what the hell a Lazarus Stone is so Eddie goes the only place he can…back to Drood Hall to talk to the Drood in Cell13.

This Drood (Laurence) used to be the family Armourer before Jack. He did something to himself that affected his brain. He now knows everything in the old and new Drood libraries, not to mention every new thing that happens within Drood Hall. He doesn’t appear to age any longer and the family all agreed (including poor Laurence) that he was too much of a danger to the family to be allowed to roam free so they built him a very specialized prison cell.

Laurence is definitely more than a little batshit and he tugs Molly and Eddie around by the nose a bit but eventually tells them that the Lazarus Stone is a bit of the stone that was rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb so Jesus could raise him from the dead. Supposedly. In the end, the best explanation we have as to what this thing can do is that its some sort of mechanism (possibly alien in origin) that has to do with time travel. He also hints that Eddie’s late grandfather, the Regent, last had the stone. This they already know so with Droods bearing down on them thanks to all sorts of alarms, they run off to the Armoury to talk to Jack (one of my personal favorite characters in this series).

Jack eventually tells Eddie that his brother James had the stone and gave it to a woman he actually loved, a courtesan of Frankensteinian make called the Lady Faire. She was apparently made to be everyone’s perfect sexual object (men, women, other). She had many lovers and more ex-lovers and James knew that she’d never be his and yet love makes you do silly things.

The rest of the book is Eddie and Molly facing increasing odds as they try to figure out a way to 1) find the Lady Faire and 2) get close enough to her to take this. Of course, things aren’t that straight forward and there is a bit of a twist toward the end that is quite good (made me grin really). I loved this book and I was really temped to immediately start reading it again. In fact, I may just have to go back and reread it right now. Highly recommended, rating: A+.

A Hard Day’s Knight

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Reviews, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2013 by crookedreviews

Simon R. Green does love his punny titles. A Hard Day’s Knight picks up immediately after The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny left off. John just gets home from rescuing Tommy Oblivion and killing Walker and is looking forward to some down time with Suzie when she give him some unpleasant news. Something came in the post for him. And when he spots it, that something looks suspiciously sword shaped.

And it is Excalibur. Someone has sent it through ordinary post to John. But why him? If there was every anyone not worthy to hold such an item, its John. And yet clearly he’s meant to be carrying it for some reason. It feels right to pick it up and wield it. When Suzie reaches for it, she just knows that she’s not worthy enough to touch it.

In order to find out the answer to his question, he has to go out to London Proper, to find the London Knights. The London Knights are the descendants of King Arthur’s original round table knights. They have been training down the centuries for the time that Excalibur would come back into the world and Arthur would wake from his long sleep. They know more about the myth and legend (and facts) that is King Arthur than any group or person.

Of course, since they are descended from Arthur’s knights, they very much disapprove of the Nightside and all its denizens (this includes the practically saintly Julien Advent). They are not happy that John has Excalibur rather than one of them, but the Lady of the Lake pops in and tells them all to grow up. Some of you Green fans might recognize the Lady of the Lake, Gayle (Gaea-Mother Earth) from Drinking Midnight Wine. Green so does love to intertwine his story lines, which I love.

John has a destiny (which he really isn’t a happy about). He is to wake Arthur and prevent the Elves from going to civil war with each other. Of course, no one knows exactly where Arthur is sleeping, but that’s minor details! Especially when the aforementioned Elves break into the London Knights’ demesne of Castle Inconnu.  There is a great battle where much ass is kicked and John…manages to lose Excalibur to a man (and former Knight) named Jerusalem Stark (great name).

So of course, he has to get it back. Stark runs to the Nightside to sell Excalibur to King Artur of Sinister Albion. Sinister Albion is an alternate history of Camelot where Merlin Satanspawn accepts the title of Antichrist and everything goes to shit. Quite literally. John and Suzie are so close to getting Excalibur back when she kills Artur and Stark escapes to Sinister Albion. This swordbearer thing is a lot harder than it sounds.

So they go to the Doormouse (and I’d love to see an artist’s rendering of this character because he sounds just so delightfully fuzzy) and get a door to this alternate earth. We see yet more mayhem and ass kicking and John finally gets Excalibur back. The Gaea from this time track sends them back to the Nightside but they’re a bit worse for wear. They’re filthy from the fighting and since they ended up in the wishing well of the Mammon Emporium (poor thing), they decide that cleaning up is the first order of business. Luckily you can find pretty much anything in the Mammon Emporium and that includes heavy duty cleaners. Half an hour and they’re good as new but the night is long and so very far from over.

John heads back to London Proper (with Suzie this time because he gets in trouble otherwise) and they bang on the door of the Castle Inconnu until they’re allowed in. John refuses to let the Knights beat around the bush any longer and insists on talking to their so called Grand Master. Imagine their surprise at coming face to face with Sir Kae, who they ran into in Paths Not Taken. And of course he still remembers them (how many people do you think have brained him with his own mace?) though he holds not grudges.

Turns out that Merlin, in all his nasty sense of humor, made Kae immortal so that something of the old, glorious Camelot would be around when Arthur woke up. And he is the only one who knows where Arthur is buried. And it isn’t Avalon (a rumor Kae started) and it isn’t Glastonbury (a modern myth I believe). It’s the basement of Strangefellows because honestly, who would think to look there. Especially with Merlin being buried right next to him.

Kae leads John, Suzie and Alex (because its his bar god damn it) into the cellars and John lays Excalibur at Arthur’s feet. Arthur pops awake as if its been mere hours, though he has been listening in his sleep this whole time (an easy way to get Arthur to speak modern English, natch). There is much rejoicing between brothers and much drinking by Arthur, whose quite thirsty after almost fifteen hundred years.

Still, they’re not quite sure what exactly they need to do. John doesn’t get much time to enjoy being in the presence of a legend. He gets a call from Julien Advent, who insists on meeting right. Now.  So John fires up the portable timeslip from Walker’s watch (which he stole before Walker took a swan dive) and meets Julien…at the place where Griffin Hall used to stand. Where Walker was killed by John’s own hand.

Julien shows John that Elves have come to the Nightside and are slaughtering people. He doesn’t know which faction they come from but it hardly matters. He demands John do something. John says he has an idea that Julien will almost certainly not like and then whisks himself off to Strangefellows before Julien can object. He tells the others what is happening and asks Kae to get his Knights. It order to do this in a timely fashion however, they have to go back to the Doormouse, who throws himself at Arthur and snuggles. Its rather cute.

The Doormouse is how the Elves got into Castle Inconnu earlier and though he isn’t entirely unrepentant, he does agree to send them back. There’s much rejoicing (yay) by the Knights at seeing their king alive and well. Arthur rouses them to battle and the whole lot of them (around a thousand in all) head into the Nightside via the Knights’ own dimensional doors (which I can only imagine must be operated from within the hall because otherwise why wouldn’t Kae use that instead of the Doormouse?).

Elves and Knights clash until the Elves are beaten down. John is pissed at this whole thing because there are people, his people, dead and dying in the streets and buildings mere ruins now. He’s damn well tired of the carnage and demands that Mab, Oberon and Titania parley with Arthur. And it is Arthur’s presence that ensures they actually do, because the Elves still have honor and they have old agreements with Camelot and her king.

In order to press upon every one that a civil war is most definitely a bad idea, John brings them all to a place he’s been working to erase since Something from the Nightside. The dead future timeline where he killed Razor Eddie is still a possibility (and he wishes he knew why, because he really wants to avoid it). Arthur and Kae are shocked and horrified. Oberon and Titania agree that perhaps a civil war is a bad thing but what can they do?

Its then that Arthur tells them of the Doormouse and his doors to alternate earths. There is a pristine earth behind one of those doors. An earth that has never known a sentient being, let alone something like and elf or a human. The Elves can thrive there, can be themselves there. Oberon and Titania agree but Mab, crazy Mab, does not. She’s all set to kick off some major carnage when she’s taken out (very trickily) by her own son, Puck.

And so war is averted for now. The Elves go to their paradise, where they can thrive. Oberon locks the door to that plane and disappears into Shadows Fall. He and Titania don’t belong in the new world. They are far too old fashioned for it. Arthur goes off with the Lady of the Lake, to await the Final Battle (whenever and wherever that may be). Kae gets to stay through the coming years the hard way. Again.

And John gets a bit of surprising news from Suzie. But we’ll wait until the next book to spill that little tidbit. :-) This was great. I loved the whole thing, beginning to end. If you could read just one of the Nightside books, I’d have to say that this should be it. Rating: A+.

The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Reviews, Urban Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2013 by crookedreviews

Such a good book. Simon R. Green starts us right off with John Taylor wandering about the Nightside in a bit of a mood. Things are going well for him. Too well (bum-bum-buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. You can really hear the ‘you just jinxed yourself music). He and Suzie can actually be physical with each other since her experience with the Walking Man. He’s got enough money (likely from the Griffin case) that he can only take cases he finds interesting and nothing major has happened to the Nightside recently.

So of course he runs into a flux fog. This interesting little idea is a play on how shadowy and uncertain fog can be. Have you ever driven in really thick fog and been hyper alert because you just don’t know what’s going to happen? If you’re going to hit something? Well, multiply that by a lot and you get a flux fog. Only instead of just people wandering about their business, people and things can come out from other dimensions. As Green says, a flux fog is when the edges of the world just don’t meet right. Anything can happen.

John, feeling at loose ends and looking for a change, calmly steps into the fog. Of course, nothing happens to him which is just his luck. Thankfully, his secretary Cathy has a job for him, one that he has to take because wouldn’t you know it? An elf is involved. Now elves are not cute, playful little things like they are in a lot of modern fairy tales. Elves are impossibly gorgeous, yes, but they are vicious, bloodthirsty, technologically advanced and absolutely hate humans. The only reason they don’t fight humans anymore is because humans out breed them. There is only one rule with elves: Don’t trust them. They always lie except for when the truth can hurt you more.

This elf wants John to escort him across the Nightside to a place called the Osterman Gate. It is a dimension door that leads directly to Shadows Fall, where the court of Oberon and Titania is located. This elf, called Lord Screech (and yes, when I first read the book, I pictured Dustin Diamond from Saved by the Bell), is a messenger between Oberon and Titania’s court and the court of Queen Mab. They’re at war but Screech is transporting a peace treaty. And not everyone wants that treaty signed.

John basically says what the hell, calls up Ms. Fate (the Nightside’s own transvestite super heroine) and takes the job. He calls Ms Fate because he needs wheels and Dead Boy is not available. John should really think about investing in a car. At any rate, the threesome fight off attacks left, right and center (some of them quite imaginative on Green’s part but that isn’t very unusual) and the juuuuust fail to make the Osterman Gate.

At that point, Lord Screech reveals himself to be not the Lord Screech (surely you jest!) but the very Loki-like (both the Norse god and the bad guy from the Avengers, sort of a mix) Puck. He was just a diversion, a way to keep everyone’s attention on him. The real messenger is already in Shadows Fall. Ha ha, joke’s on you silly humans! But just before Puck leaves, he gives John his payment for the help received. It seems something very old and very powerful is coming to the Nightside, but it isn’t what everyone thinks it is. What could this possibly be? Why, Excalibur of course! This comes of a few more times during the book but Excalibur itself doesn’t really make an appearance until the following book.

After that, John heads to Strangefellows because you’d need a big drink with a really big chaser too. Trying to relax, John gets interrupted by Larry Oblivion, the dead detective. Larry is insistent that John help him find his brother Tommy, who was lost (quite literally) during the Lilith War. No one, not even John (who has looked many times) has been able to find him or the body. Larry  wants him found and wants him found now.

John wants to know why Larry is so very keen all of a sudden and it seems that Larry’s (much) older brother, Hadleigh Oblivion, is now interested. At which point the bar goes quiet and John curses. Everyone is scared of Hadleigh, who has kind of become something like a boogie man. He went into the Deep School where they tell you horrible secrets and show you the real nature of the world. And he came through it. Those who survive the Deep School come out unimaginably powerful. And freakin’ scary.

We also find out that Larry has an elf wand (something that was hinted at in Hell to Pay) and how he came to get it. Turns out he was duped by an elf (what’s the first rule of dealing with elves? Yup, you got it) and accidentally let Queen Mab free from Hell. That Hell. So Larry feels he has to majorly make up for that before he actually gets one of the Nightside’s many denizens to release him from his zombism (zombieism?), John finally agrees to assist hiim but just as he does, Walker shows up.

Telling Larry that he’ll meet him at Cheyne Walk near the Tube station, John listens to Walker. He’s dying (we know) and he wants John to take over his position. John refuses point blank and Walker goes off to wherever he is when he isn’t harassing people. John knows this isn’t the end of this thing with Walker but he has a job to do.

John and Larry meet up again at Cheyne Walk and discuss what they both know about Tommy’s disappearance. Of course, Walker shows up again but this time with a bargain. John needs to walk with him, see what it is he does with his time, and he’ll tell John where to find Tommy. John reluctantly agrees and he walks the Nightside with Walker, not at all certain that he likes or approves of what he sees. It certainly doesn’t convince him to take up the job.

Eventually, Walker gives in for now and tells John that the Collector has started collecting people, not just objects. John locates the man at the far end of the Tube system, where no one ever goes any more. It isn’t even on the map of the system, a hellish place called Lud’s Gate. And certainly the Collector’s gone round the twist but no, he hasn’t gone snatching people. He doesn’t particularly even like people, why would he want to collect him.

Turns out, it was just a ruse to get Walker to find the Collector. See the Collector warded himself against Walker, but he didn’t think to ward John as well. Walker told John and Larry what they wanted to hear (Tommy’s location, only not really) and simply followed them. So he could kill the Collector, much to John and Larry’s dismay. The two of them hurry back to the Nightside, appalled and a bit dispirited because they’re no close to finding Tommy.

When they reach Cheyne Walk again, Walker calls John and simply tells him where to find Hadleigh Oblivion, who is out causing a bit of trouble at St. Jude’s. Not trusting Walker in the slightest any more, John confirms with Cathy and he and Larry head off. Once they arrive, they find the Lord of Thorns in high dudgeon. It turns out his powers hadn’t been broken really, they’d been suppressed by Walker and the denizens of the Street of the Gods. And Thorns is pissed.

At this point we get our first introduction to Hadleigh Oblivion. Tall with a total monochromatic motif going on, Hadleigh is intimidating and off putting. He doesn’t really do the who exposition-y explanation either. Just that he knows where Tommy is but they can’t quite do anything yet. They need to wait for something. And that something is Walker, who shows up yet again.

John turns him down flat when Walker asks John if he wants the job again. Disappointed, Walker whisks them out of St. Jude’s and to the former site of Griffin Hall. The garden has been transmogrified into a full blown jungle and is nasty with it. Walker has a plan, you see, to use a piece of tech that the Collector found. It can transfer Walker’s mind into John’s. He’s going to use John’s body to continue his (Walker’s) work and kill anyone who might have known that he wasn’t the real John (That is to say, Cathy, Suzie and Alex to start).

Well John just does not take that shit. He fights Walker and fights a bit dirty to be honest. Eventually Walker loses and while John is feeling bad about this (Walker was the closest thing he had to a father after all), Hadleigh shows up. It is now time to find Tommy. Hadleigh takes him back to Cheyne Walk where Larry is waiting for them.

The tech that Walker was going to use is the key. You see Tommy the Existential Detective uncertained himself out existence. He’s become a soft ghost and there are specific things needed to bring him (and the other soft ghosts) back to the world: John’s gift, the mind tech, Larry’s unique nature and Hadleigh’s knowledge to facilitate it all. Happy endings all around until John realizes that he can’t call Walker to deal with the soft ghosts no longer. Determined not to fall into Walker’s job by accident, John calls the New Authorities and finally gets home.

This book made me a little sad, even though it introduced a character that I like a lot (Hadleigh Oblivion). Sad because Walker is dead and he was the kind of character that you loved to hate. And you even felt a little sorry for the man at times. I will actually miss Walker. He’s a good foil for John. So Rest in Peace Walker, you will be missed. And stay tuned for the next thrilling adventure! Rating: B. I kind of felt that the bit where Larry was explaining about how he freed Mab could have been cut out entirely or at least shortened.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers

%d bloggers like this: