Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oh No! Not the bees!

You can tell a novel is going to be fun when it starts with a trip to London Undertowen to meet the old Celtic god Lud and winds up in a good Christopher Lee movie/Bad Nic Cage remake.

Since the library didn't have a physical copy of Spirits From Beyond by Simon R. Green, I had to navigate through the Overdrive Media app to download the book digitally. I'll be honest, much as I like my Nook for some things (it's great for traveling, since I can watch NetFlix and check e-mail on it), but I'm not all that thrilled about trying to read on it, mainly since any movement with the device is a bit like waving your hand in front of a TV. Which means finding a level surface to put it on, then trying to find a comfortable position. Also, thanks to an old Mad Magazine parody, any title with the word "beyond" in it auto corrects in my mind to Bayonne. Thus making many horror/thrillers all about New Jersey.

Anyway, Spirits starts with JC being lonely in his room, missing his ghost girlfriend Kim. Who shows up after about a page and a half. She tells him to return to the building he investigated back in the second book. The rest of the team, Melody and Happy, join him, and they descend into London Undertowen. Whereupon we meet reanimated Druids who are part of the Flesh Undying's effort to wake up Lud to open a big enough gap in reality to let the Flesh Undying escape. Even if that would destroy the world as we know it.

As in many of Green's novels, this is more or less a prelude into the greater story that takes up the rest of the book. Which in this case involves being ordered to investigate The King's Arms Inn which is supposed to be a routine haunting.

Given this is Green, it's anything but routine. Once the Ghost Finders get beyond the normal haunting stuff "blood that never cleans up, stuff like that) and the locals get chased out by a storm, we delve into doors that switch what lies behind them (time slips, a being from Outside that eats the unwary paying guest....), a spectacularly angry young blond, a young suicide who once loved the current owner....

And oh yes, there are naughty bad evil druids of The Wicker Man kind. Who really don't figure much into the plot as much as they do the background on The King's Arms. No bees though, which puts this a step above the horrible remake.


When they're not busy being cheeky with the preternatural, we're getting some character rounding within the quartet. Kim is keeping secrets, JC is worndering why something from Outside saved him during the fight with Fenris Tenebrae (especially after a few cryptic comments from Lud and Kim both), Happy is back on "the pills", and Melody is dealing with the fact that her love of Happy can't save him from his addiction.

There's also a rather silly running joke about as as yet unseen character known as the Traveling Doctor. Who created an Index for the Carnacki Institute archives that's bigger on the inside. Given the ending on this one, I look forward to seeing what Green has in store next for these characters.