Over on Breaking the Spine, there’s a meme every week where bloggers share the titles they’re looking forward to every week. This week, I am looking forward to: Simon R Green’s Ishmael Jones series, which I know nothing about. YUP. Except it’s Simon R. Green and OMG, I want to give him a second chance after his lacklustre Ghost Finders series because he is funny and I want to be able to laugh at his writing again like I did for his Nightside series. And his Drood series.
Can you tell how much I WANT this series to be good?
But, actually I should say something else, like what this series is about. This WOW is actually for book 2, which is called Dead Man Walking, but I am going to start with book 1, because you know, book 1:
Ishmael Jones is someone who can’t afford to be noticed, someone who lives under the radar, who drives on the dark side of the road. He’s employed to search out secrets, investigate mysteries and shine a light in dark places. Sometimes he kills people. Invited by his employer, the enigmatic Colonel, to join him and his family for Christmas, Ishmael arrives at the grand but isolated Belcourt Manor in the midst of a blizzard to find that the Colonel has mysteriously disappeared. As he questions his fellow guests, Ishmael concludes that at least one of them not least Ishmael himself – is harbouring a dangerous secret, and that beneath the veneer of festive cheer lurk passion, jealousy, resentment and betrayal. As a storm sets in, sealing off the Manor from the rest of the world, Ishmael must unmask a ruthless murderer they strike again.
Green’s books tend to revolve around secret agents, with a dry, dry wit, as he messes about with all the tropes in urban fantasy. And he’s always funny without making me weary and feeling like he’s trying too hard. He manages to turn things up to 11, but still have some sort of restraint in his characters even as his worlds are exploding or Gods are bringing about the end of said worlds.
Book 1 was out last year. And this is the blurb for book 2:
Call me Ishmael. Ishmael Jones. I am the man in the shadows, that even the shadows are afraid of. The secret agent whose life is the greatest secret of all. And some of the cases I work are trickier than others. ”
A rogue agent has come in from the cold and wants to spill his secrets. The Organisation wants Ishmael to find out if Frank Parker is who he says he is, what he really knows, and why he has emerged from the shadows after all this time.
Ishmael heads to Ringstone Lodge in Yorkshire where Parker is being held to find that an atmosphere of fear and suspicion prevails. As he and his fellow residents are menaced by a series of alarming and inexplicable incidents, Ishmael sets out to prove that it’s human trickery rather than any supernatural being behind the seemingly ghostly goings-on. But matters take an unexpected turn when one of their number is brutally murdered, and once again Ishmael must turn detective in order to entrap a twisted killer before they strike again.
Ahh, I feel giddy! The attraction to his books is his style of writing and wit, and his ability to take the narrative into an entirely unexpected direction. His Ghost Finders series I admit was a miss for me, but I am willing to give these a try.
Which authors have you given second chances to? Have you regretted that second chance or did it work out?