Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer Reading Bk. 2: The Spy Who Haunted Me

So my last book review was all about how I like pretty book covers. This one isn't one of those.
One other way I find new authors to read is through anthologies, collections of shorter stories by multiple writers. Near the end of my long-term love affair with Harry Dresden, I checked out an anthology of fantasy writers which included both Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green. The Green story was a story of the Nightside and there are a whole bunch of them. I really liked the hero, John Taylor, but the story was just OK. And it was another long-term relationship brewing because of my compulsion to see a story to the end. So I stayed firmly away from the Nightside stories sitting there on the shelf. But...there was this one which didn't appear to be part of a series (because nothing on the flap really says that it is. But it is.) and the opening pages sounded so good: witty, flawed tough guy hero, protecting us all from oddities that we don't even know are out there. And this one was a sort of caper: world's greatest spy is dying, looking for his successor in one final game for the 6 up-and-comers, winner gets all his secrets. And that's all I knew.
And here are my thoughts:
Very clever hero, handy with the snappy comeback. This is important.
The other characters were also interesting, even if Honey Lake the CIA agent didn't usually speak like an American. She was hanging with Brits, so she might have changed a bit. It happened to the Material Girl.
Where Harry Dresden's world was easy for me to see, Eddie Drood's never felt real. Maybe there wasn't enough development. They had a lot of mystery to solve. Plus, 4 out of 5 places I had never been to. The fifth...get this, directly from the book (I marked the page so I could find it again):
We're somewhere in the wilds of Arknasas, not far from the border with Texas. Miles and miles from anywhere civilized, and so far off the beaten track you can't even see the track from here.
Other details: 40 miles to the nearest small town, no accurate maps of the region because no one ever comes there, maybe hunters and trappers, hear the banjo music?, and then they come to a riverbank, wide enough to qualify as a lake, where they set up camp, start a fire, and wait for Sasquatch to show up. Sasquatch!
It's a wonder I didn't shred the book right there. But I didn't.
Turns out the Sasquatch is a Hyde. And Nessie shouldn't be messed with. And it's hard work to be an agent.
So...this one turns out to be part of a series too. Dang it. For now, I'm going to fight my compulsion to find out the rest of the story. We'll see how long it lasts. If you're a fantasy reader and you don't live anywhere near the Sasquatch in Texarkana, you might give it a try.

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