Written by: Simon R Green
Paperback: 272 pages
August 2010, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/The Ghost Finders Series
A brand-new series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightside novels! The Carnacki Institute exists to "Do Something" about Ghosts-and agents JC Chance, Melody Chambers, and Happy Jack Palmer will either lay them to rest, send them packing, or kick their nasty ectoplasmic arses with extreme prejudice...
Simon R Green is a clever, clever man. He has created a world I love in the Nightside novels which are chock full of forgotten gods, preternaturals of all types and occasionally giant teddy bears that probably just want and need a really big hug. His new series steps away from the Nightside just like his Drood series, but of course even in the real world there are still things that go bump on the night, quite possibly the day as well.
The Institute has been mentioned in both the Nightside and the Drood series, but this is our first fleshed out, here is the details sort of outing. JC Chance: arrogant leader, Melody Chambers: techno geek who will kick your ass and telepath Happy Jack Palmer, who never really is happy (who can blame him really) make up our fearless team. They are so not Venkman, Stantz and Spengler. After finishing a job at the local supermarket the team heads to an underground tube station where the shiteth hath hiteth the fan…eth. Top of that, the Crowley Project has sent their own team and they really, really don’t play well with others
Things I loved: Ghost stories these days are fairly rare to find. Most urban fantasy primarily deals with the other supernaturals creatures: werewolves, vampires, faeries, etc. But ghosts…yeah they are not exactly urban fantasy and horrors new poster children. And I do love a good ghost story which is why Mike Carey’s Felix Castor series makes me all giggly. Or why I absolutely love movies like The Orphanage, The Others, or the Devil’s Backbone. Far better than sparkly or vinyl clad vampires. So I have to give Mr. Green a couple of gold stars simply for doing something fresh and new to the genre I love so much.
Another thing that Green is really great at are his descriptions and one wicked imagination that creates some truly horrific things that go bump in the night. Seriously that tube station would have me screaming and then possibly running head long into a wall before curling into the fetal position just to make it all go away. And then I would never ever take the tube again. His monsters and his settings are amazing. You can picture everything in your head and then it all gets ruined when characters open their mouth or the descriptions are about the characters themselves in an utterly stereotypical sort of way.
Things I didn't love so much: Which brings me to the things of course that kind of irked me. Overall this book didn’t work for me. I didn’t like JC, not even in a love to hate him and his convinced superiority (similar to Conan Doyle in the Menagerie series). He was just kind of boring and one dimensional. It was also fairly apparent of how you were supposed to love to hate him. Too forced, too already seen that and read that. And sadly while his descriptions all things oogy boogie, his bios on each character as they were introduced was just jarring and made me like them even less. This is probably because they are all characters without little depth and each of them has the I’m so much cooler than you attitude. And the villains, ok so they are evil because they are all pretty much carbon copies of JC, Melody and Jack except that they all are apparently social deviants of some sort and were supposed to hate them cause the book says so.
I also had a hard time of believing the relationship JC has later in the book. Really? Cause that made sense and was realistic and totally had me rooting for them. Ummm, no…that was my sarcastic blogging just in case you missed that.
Buy or Borrow: Borrow. I didn’t hate the book completely as I actually read the whole thing. I think I mostly disappointed because of how much I really do love Mr. Green and his tales. I wanted to love it and recommend it, but I can’t really do that. I certainly wouldn’t rush out to buy it or lend it. Though I am really hoping that the next will get better. Maybe Simon just needed a holiday or his muse had left for her own holiday in Azerbaijan. In the end the book was poorly written with stereotypical and unlikable characters, and some plot devices that made me want to scream and bang my head against a wall.
Part of: A series.
Book One: Ghost of a Chance Book Two: Ghost of a Smile
Also Recommended: Please please do not think this is how the Nightside Series which I truly love also my Simon R Green. For more ghostly mayhem I would read the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey or The Matthew Swift Urban Magic series by Kate Griffin.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks simply because what Green does best is his descriptions of baddies and monsters