I seem to be in a phase of reviewing authors that I’ve been long aware of, but never got around to actually reading before. Simon R. Green certainly fits that bill. Since the bulk of his work consists of multi-book series, I was grateful to find the first in a new series offered up for review.
I had to think long and hard about what to say about this one. To describe the story in any detail would be too spoilerish. It’s very much in the current vogue for cross-genre books, encompassing as it does, the Science Fiction/Horror/Crime/Spy genres.
Ishmael Jones works for an organization, simply known as “The Organization”, by it’s members. He deals with cases of the weird and unusual, doing whatever has to be done. No one else knows the Organization exists—not even other super-secret organizations. In fact he used to work for another such super-secret organization, called “Black Heir”, but he left when he decided he didn’t approve of their methods.
After receiving a call from his boss, who he simply knows as “The Colonel”, he drives through some of the worst weather in recorded history, to spend Christmas with the Colonel and his family. Once he arrives at Belcourt Manor, he finds himself caught up in a classic Agatha Christie murder mystery. As the bodies pile up, he begins to think the perpetrator is no ordinary murderer, but then Ishmael Jones is hardly ordinary either.
I really enjoyed the book. If anything it was over too soon. The author captures the English Country Manor Murder Mystery feel very well, as he sets up pretty much everybody as a suspect. I admit that I worked out what the big bad was, who it was and even exactly how Ishmael would defeat it in the end, quite early on, but that may just have been lucky guesswork on my part, and it in no way detracted from the enjoyment of getting there. Let’s be honest here… we all love it when we find out we were right.
The book ends with so many unanswered questions. Ishmael Jones may know more about his origins than anyone else, but he still doesn’t know a great deal. I look forward to finding out more in future volumes.