Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Play's the thing...

I mentioned Simon R. Green's Ghost Finders in passing a few books back, and I just finished the latest volume, Ghost of a Dream. (According to Wikipedia, the next volume is out, but I have yet to find it. So this is technically the most recent.)

Some quick background on how this particular series is laid out. JC, Melody, and Happy work for the Carnaki Institute, shutting down hauntings before the general public finds out what's actually going on. (Think Torchwood, only without Captain Jack.) Happy is a manic-depressive telepath and an improving drug problem. Melody is the super science brain, using instruments to figure out what's going on. JC, the team leader, had a bit of an adventure in book 1, and now has eyes that glow with brilliant light. He also has a ghost girlfriend, Kim, who has issues of her own.

Like other volumes in the other series in this shared world, Dream's first two chapters deal with our protagonists dealing with something totally unrelated to the bigger plot of the book. In this case, JC, Melody, and Happy deal with a haunted rail station in northern England. Which, it turns out, has to do with a train that went into a tunnel back in the late 19th century and is just now getting ready to come back. (Interestingly, the first book in this series, Ghost of a Chance, involved a haunted Underground station.) Once that situation resolves, we move on to the main focus of the novel, the haunting of The Haybarn Theater.

Now, the one thing I like about the Ghost Finders is that, unlike Secret Histories and Nightside, the three protagonists are basically fairly normal humans. No armor, no flying Valkyries on dinosaurs, no Merlin, no time slips. Basically them and their skills versus the supernatural.Which is to the good, since it allows the narratives to play out almost like a Role Playing Game, wherein the characters grow with each adventure.

And this one is actually quite creepy. Not only is there a normal haunting, but The Undying Flesh sends in his avatar, Faust, to take out the ghost hunters. Some of the tricks played between the haunts and the outside dimensional entity actually made my skin crawl on my lunch break. Which, given that I don't scare easily, I was in a retail store's break room at 1PM, and I was surrounded by people...that's quite an accomplishment.

Really, I can't wait to get my hands on the next volume. Hopefully I find it soon.