Spirits From Beyond

Oh Simon R Green. How I love thee. Even though your Ghostfinders books aren’t quite as good as the Nightside, Secret Histories, Deathstalker and Hawk & Fisher novels. They’re still a right side better than a lot of the schlock on the market today. It continually amazes me how Green can pump out such original stories. And I absolutely love how he can twine together all of his stories with some little in thing like the Rainbow Road or what not.

Now, on to Spirits From Beyond. This is the latest Ghostfinders book, just released within the last few weeks so be warned there be SPOILERS here. Spirits opens up with our beloved cocky-arse JC Chance (kind of an unwieldy name in my opinion) alone in his bedroom attempting and failing to sleep. Ever since his ghostly girlfriend Kim disappeared a few books back, he’s been something of an insomniac apparently.

So here’s poor JC, trying to bully his brain into letting him finally sleep when lo and behold! Kim turns up at the foot of the bed. She tells him that he must come fight for her at the Chimera House (where she disappeared) or she’ll never be able to come home to him.  So of course that means he calls up teammates “Happy” Jack Palmer and Melody Chambers. Luckily he does not call them mid-shag as Melody has rigged up some tech so any call JC makes to them immediately transfers to his TV.

JC gives them what low-down he can and breaks every traffic law known to man to get get to their place and then Chimera House. To be fair, he’s doing this in London and that’s not really out of the ordinary. 😉 At any rate, they get to Chimera House, which is still standing despite the previous promise from big boss Catherine Latimer that it would be torn down. So it is, of course, the perfect place for a trap by the fiendish (and still not directly seen) Flesh Undying.

Luckily for our Ghostfinding friends, or unluckily for the Flesh Undying, the trap fails. Instead of waking the ghost of an uber-powerful proto-god from another dimension, the Ghostfinders make a friend when they help him pass over, as one might expect from a Ghostfinder. By this point, the Flesh Undying should really learn not to underestimate these guys. But that wouldn’t make the books nearly as fun to read.

Once they’ve dispatched this god, JC Chance gets fired up. He’s tired of stumbling around in the dark, worried about moles in the Carnacki Institute and what his boss is up to, he takes the troops on a field trip to the Secret Libraries of the Carnacki Institute. Supposedly there are all sorts of books people really shouldn’t have or read there. Technically speaking, the team is not supposed to get in there until they have the official go-ahead from Latimer, but that has never stopped JC Chance before.

Their little soiree into the Libraries catches Latimer’s attention, and not in a good way. The team is blundering about, making waves and disrupting her own secret investigations into the traitor(s?) of the Institute. So she packs them all off to the southwest to deal with a haunted inn. Like you do.

The King’s Arms is located in fictional town Bishop’s Fording. The inn sounds a bit like Strangefellows in the Nightside in that its has been around in one form or another for so long nobody can remember it not being there. Unfortunately, the King’s Arms is located in a Bad Place. Something so terribly evil happened there at some point that it keeps spawning terrible events such as suicides and mysteriously missing guests etc.

The owner of the inn used to work for Carnacki before retiring, though never as a ghostfinder. He was raised in Bishop’s Fording and has a history with the town and with the inn. He requested JC and his team and got much more than he bargained for. What happens at the inn? Read it and find out!

This book, Spirits from Beyond, is much better than the previous books in this series but we’re still no closer to getting answers to the questions the team has been asking? What is the Flesh Undying and how do they beat it? Who is the traitor in the Institute? And what exactly happened to JC down in the London Underground? I have a feeling that we might be getting some answers in the next book, because there was a tantalizing little bit of dangling bait at the end of this book that hints to both a new book and, possibly, some answers. Eventually.

Worth the read, I’d say, though I’m still waiting for more Secret Histories. Rating: B/B+

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