A Trip to the Dark Side

Courtesy of goodreads.comNo, not that dark side. This isn’t a Star Wars post (and though I’m a Trekkie to the core, the new Star Wars is awesome. Go see it!). Simon R. Green’s latest book is called The Dark Side of the Road.

Ishmael Jones (seriously, that’s his name) is a drifter, moving from job to job and blending in to the crowd. He has to, to keep safe. Ishmael isn’t human. Obviously, or he wouldn’t have picked a name like Ishmael. At any rate, he apparently crash landed on earth back in the 60s and as a part of his civilization’s crash protocol, his entire self down to his DNA was remade to be human.

Unfortunately, it didn’t change his strange golden blood or the fact that he (at least seemingly) doesn’t age. So he keeps a low profile and works jobs on what he calls the dark side of the road so he can have access to new identities when needed. He works for someone called the Colonel, who represents The Organization. Suitably vague for their type of work, which is to take care of those things that go bump in the night that threaten to go bump in the daylight.

The Colonel calls Ishmael at Christmas, on the eve of a terrible storm and asks him to come to Belcourt Manor in Cornwall (don’t quote me on the location, it was mentioned briefly and I can’t quite remember). By the time that Ishmael arrives, the storm is so bad it snows everyone into the manor.

Once there, Ishmael discovers that the Colonel is in fact one James Belcourt, son of Walter Belcourt, owner of Belcourt Manor. And he’s missing. Which is odd, considering the weather. Ishmael gets to know the guests, two of whom he knew in one of his previous lives and one of which is James’ sister Penny, who wants all up in Ishmael.

Eventually, Ishmael and Penny discover the Colonel’s beheaded body outside in the snow, disguised as a snowman (loved that. Suitably macabre). Its up to Ishmael to discover who killed his Colonel and is now picking off the few guests (a half dozen or so) left, to get revenge.

This book is Agatha Christie meets the Twilight Zone. Ishmael is an alien, the killer is referred to as the horror by the Colonel, and they’re locked in a quaint, old British Manor for a few days with no outside help to be found. It’s glorious.

It’s my understanding that Simon R. Green isn’t writing anymore series, just doing one off novels, due to health concerns (he’s been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes), so I’m guessing that this is a stand alone. That’s a shame because it has such potential to be a great arc. This is already better than his Ghost Finders books, and I slogged my way through all of them. I hope he does at least one or two more, but we’ll have to wait and see. Even if it doesn’t continue though, this book is definitely worth the read. Rating: A

And we’re back!

Courtesy of pinterest

So my break was a bit longer than I had intended. That’s alright though, I most definitely needed it. So we’re going to start back with one of my current favorite authors, Rob Thurman. I love her (yes, her) Cal Leandros series. And her Trickster series. I hope there are more of those.

At any rate, her latest Cal Leandros is Nevermore(book 10 of the series). We start out with Cal apparently coming back in time (whoa, where did that come from?!) and more than a little crazy. I mean, Cal’s not exactly stable on the best of days, but right now he’s extremely unstable.

You see, Cal came back in time 8 years in order to prevent a secret human government organization decided that he was too dangerous, having gated in full view of humans in the light of day. At night, it could be passed off as a trick of the light or some such thing, but in daylight…not so much.

They figured the best way to do that would be to bomb Cal’s usual haunt, Ishaiah’s bar, when all of Cal’s friends were there. It might have worked, too, if Cal hadn’t forgotten to get the pizza and gone back out again. As it was, he merely had a front row seat for the two (yes, two) bombs took out his entirely family, his world.

With the thanks of some pre-planning by Robin Goodfellow (who died in the blast…supposedly. Not sure what, exactly, could kill a Puck who is easily 1 million + years old), Cal gets shoved back in time to try and beat the organization’s back up plan.

Known only as Lazarus, this person was sent back in time 8 years to kill Cal before he became too Cal-like. Sometimes I hate time travel stories. It’s so hard to keep things straight. Cal doesn’t know what Lazarus is, he just knows he has to keep himself together long enough to save himself and his brother.

To do this, he reveals himself to early Cal and Niko, who don’t really believe him but he knows enough about them that they at least marginally trust him. Unfortunately, Robin sticks his nose in, coming into early Cal and Niko’s world a full year earlier than he should have. So already, the time travel is having consequences.

This book is one of the best Cal Leandros novels yet…and it ended on a cliffhanger. Noooooooooooooo! It’s at least a two parter, could be even more. I really can’t want to see what happens. Argh! Cliffhangers are the worst and the best because you know there’s at least one more novel in a beloved series…but you won’t get that book for another year (usually).

Well, you can pass the time reading this book. It’s good and gritty and dark. Very pulp urban fantasy. Rating: A+