‘Call me Ishamael’ you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that you were about to start reading Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick. But this is a series which is set to be a completely different type of classic.
This is the second book I’ve read in the Ishmael Jones series by Simon R Green and the fourth in the series overall. Which answers the question do I need to read them in order? No. There is always a little background at the beginning that fills you in on who Ishmael is and what’s going on with him.
Ishmael Jones (which isn’t his real name) is an alien who crash landed on earth 50 years ago, his spaceship turned him into something resembling a human and he’s since joined the service of a covert government operation led by the strict Colonel.
The Ishmael books all feature a mystery which Ishmael and his endearing human girlfriend Penny have to solve. This time they’re carted off to the mysterious house of the Colonel’s wife’s family who hold one of the largest private collections of Egyptian artefacts in the world. Including a brand new mummy that they want to show off.
The Ishmael Jones series is an excellent example of genre blending, imagine Scoony Doo meets My Parents are Aliens for grownups. Ishmael and Penny have an amusing relationship and the books are just generally very easy reads, they’re not particularly long and the mysteries are hard to solve because it’s usually something supernatural at work and hiding in plain sight.
I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and hope there will be some more if only to determine Ishamael’s true origins. Will he ever know where he came from and why?
I nearly didn’t read this. I love Erica Spindler and followed her crime/thriller novels. When I read the first book in this series The Final Seven I didn’t particularly enjoy it. In fact I left a review saying as much. The reason for this I think is because I approached it all wrong. I was expecting more of the usual fast paced crime thriller and instead ended up being introduced to some kind of supernatural/urban fantasy story that was totally unexpected. It was this lack of preparation that kind of ruined it for me. It was for this reason that I swore off reading anymore in this series.
However, I decided to give it another shot and I’m really glad that I did. Knowing what to expect this time I found it much more enjoyable. I liked the characters of Micki and Zach much more in this book, they were more natural and less in your face.
The storyline was much better too, a lot more history about the light keepers and what happened at the end of Final Seven. I think after this I’ll definitely pick up this series again and return to my love of Erica’s novels.
Thank you to Netgalley for my ARC
This is one of those books that I shouldn’t have liked. Why? You ask. Because it’s completely ridiculous. But surprisingly, it works.
Ishmael Jones is an alien. I’ll get that out there straight away. This is actually the 3rd book in a series about him but the first one I’ve read. I’m definitely intrigued to read some more of them now! Ishmael and his partner/girlfriend Penny work for ‘The Organisation’ a mysterious, well… organisation who sent Ishmael on jobs to rid the world of monsters and murderers and thinks that go bump in the night. In Very Important Corpses; Ishmael and Penny go off to Loch Ness to investigate the death of a fellow agent right in the middle of the meeting of a secret society.
It wasn’t even that this book was particularly well written in terms of being some kind of literary genius. It was more that it was funny, witty, engaging, page turning and just about everything you could want from a book where the main character is a sort of alien detective. There’s a hint of mystery and thriller but tied in with the sci-fi genre making it extra interesting.
A delightfully easy read and I get the feeling the Ishmael Jones series is about to become my guilty pleasure!
Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for my ARC.
The Case of the Green Dressed Ghost appealed to me as a read now on Netgalley purely because of the blurb and the colour. I’m not really one for ghost stories but as this one seemed to have a little mystery to it I decided to give it a try.
This is Lucy Banks’ first published novel and I must say I enjoyed the story/plot immensely.
Kester is devastated when his mum dies but intrigued by the mysterious message in her dying words. Kester’s mum tells him he must find Dr Ribaro and tell him who he is. After some serious googling Kester is non the wiser, so armed with the address he found in his mothers address book he heads to Exeter where he is pulled into the world of Dr Ribaro’s supernatural agency. This novel documents the adventures of Kester and the rest of the staff at the agency.
The character of Kester is not your typical hero. 22 years old he is a mummy’s boy and an academic having recently graduated from Cambridge. He has a paunch, psoriasis covered hands and pale flabby skin and he dresses like a middle aged professor. However Banks is skilled in that she writes him as being both amusing and capable completely without meaning to be.
The other characters are also very interesting and I’m intrigued to see if future novels in this series will focus on some of their back stories a little more. The storyline was engaging and interesting and I loved the idea behind it. It reminded me a lot of ghostbusters as it’s quite tongue in cheek but in some parts was actually quite scary!
There’s only one criticism I could really throw at this. I think the book could have done with more strict editing. In parts it was overloaded with cliches and way too many similes and other ‘writers techniques’. It could have had a lot of this ‘filler’ and fluff removed and replaced with some more interesting insight into the characters. Other than that I really enjoyed it and would look forward to reading more from this author.
The Loney is a story which has left me feeling unsure. It’s not the type of novel you can say you ‘loved’ or even ‘liked’. It is also one of those stories which leaves it a bit to the unknown and doesn’t really give any closure to the reader. While my literature background tells me this is an excellent technique; it has never been one which I have particularly liked…. So if you’re like me and prefer a story which answers all the questions in the end and puts all the pieces of the jigsaw back together then The Loney is not for you.
The Loney is something of a slow burner so much so that I cannot actually remember the name of the main character or if he was ever actually named. He narrates in first person and the only person who seems to refer to him by name is the priest Father Bernard who calls him ‘Tonto’. He and his brother Hanny (Andrew) are taken every year to The Loney a place in the far North of England which holds a mystical shrine. Their Mother who is obsessed by religion is determined that the shrine and its holy water will heal Hanny of the muteness he was born with.
The story unfolds after Tonto (as I shall now call him) and Hanny are all grown up. Hanny is married with 2 children and has written a book which became famous, he is also now a priest. This instantly tells the reader that Hanny was indeed cured but not exactly how. The reader is then treated to the written down words of Tonto the adult explaining how it all came about.
For me there was a lot of build up which led to nothing. There was the creepy staring ‘locals’, the haunted crumbling mansion, the witches and mystical tales as if The Loney itself was still alive. But for me there was just some part of it which wasn’t right. It didn’t satisfy my curiosity enough. I’m not saying it’s not written well because it is, I’m not saying the plot was weak because it wasn’t I’m just saying that as I laid awake last night racing through the final chapters, desperate for answers I just didn’t really find them…
Eat your heart out Daphne De Maurier. Not since Rebecca has the tale of the ghost of the dead wife haunted me in such as way as it has with The Fire Child. What an unnerving and truly gripping tale of the desperation of a young woman and a little troubled boy.
Firstly for fans of The Ice Twins I apologise. While the plot of S.K Tremayne’s first novel did intrigue me I couldn’t help but not think that it lived up to the hype. When I received an early copy of The Fire Child for review I admit I had my doubts. Yet another trumped up thriller story sure to end in disappointment. But no. I was wrong, I hold my hands up and eat a slice of humble pie this book was fantastic!
I started it this morning and I literally COULD NOT put it down.
The Fire Child’s main character and 1st person narrator Rachel Daly cannot believe her luck, dragging herself up from a rough upbringing in ‘Sarf London’ and hiding the terrible secrets from her past she is ready for a new beginning and a fresh start when she meets and marries the delectable David and moves with him and his son to the family home in Cornwall. But it is once they arrive that Rachel begins to be haunted by not only her own issues from the past but by the ghost/spirit of her predecessor Nina, David’s first wife and Jamie’s mother. Isolated from the world Rachel begins to think she is going mad and David is set out to prove just that. But what is truth and what is a lie in the rambling old house with its dusty cellars and even more well hidden secrets?
This book is gripping, it is dark, it has elements of everything from crime to thriller to suicide to the supernatural and the twist? Well you’ll have to read it to find that bit out!! All I’ll say is it took while very near the end for me to start and put the pieces of the puzzle together!
As well as the main storyline this novel provides an intriguing account of the history of Cornish tin mining as well as using beautiful poetic language to describe the area and really create the image of the house, the Cornish countryside and the mines themselves. It’s definitely got me interested in a subject that in all honesty I had never heard of before! I’d definitely be keen to read other novels by this author!
I’ve got a mixed bag of feelings about this one…
I love Erica Spindler’s books. They’re always along the lines of either a crime thriller like her Stacy Killian novels and her romantic suspense novels which are usually a combination of creepy and thriller.
This one was a bit different though. It had the crime thriller element of the Stacy Killian novels (she even makes a cameo appearance) and the creepiness of the romantic suspense.
I still haven’t quite decided if I think that works… There’s elements to this book that I like, that I really like. But it almost feels like reading two different stories. One a crime novel for adults and the other a YA fantasy novel. Now these are my two favourite genres don’t get me wrong but do they work together. I’m still on the fence.
I don’t think the characters were as engaging as they could have been. Zach often came across as week or dependent only on his looks to see him through life giving him a shallow appearance even when he was really being genuinely caring. Mick on the other hand was a cross between bimbo (referring to her own breast implants and ‘big rack’ more than once) and some hard hitting ladette. It was hard to come to a decision about her. I would have liked to have seen a bit more realism as well. There were elements of FBI conspiracy theory but not enough evidence given to support it. It felt unlikely to me that a police officer could be placed there with no training and it didn’t make sense to me why they wouldn’t just have trained them anyway…
Overall I liked both storylines but feel they would have worked better as separate books. Nevertheless Erica’s excellent writing skills and ability to grip the reader enabled me to devour this book in one sitting and I have no doubt I’ll be checking out the next instalment upon its release in November.