Friday, December 11, 2009

"The Spy Who Haunted Me" by Simon R. Green

"Eddie Drood, at your service. For generations my family has been shedding some light on the forces of darkness, keeping humanity safe from the wicked, the nasty, and the generally not-nice inhuman predators who feed on people's fear and misery. No one kicks evil arse better than us Droods - especially yours truly. In fact, my arse-kicking skills have come to the attention of the legendary Alexander King, Indpendent Agent extraordinaire. The best of the best, King spent a lifetime working for anyone and everyone, doing anything and everything, for the right price. Now he's on his deathbed, and he's looking to bestow all of his priceless secrets and knowledge on a worthy successor. King has selected six of us for this potential honor. He's made it a contest, challenging us to solve five mysteries all around the world, figuring that along the way we'll all try to eliminate the competition, backstabbing one another until only one remains. My competitors include agents from the CIA, the Fae Court of Shadows Fall, even the Nightside. But I've got to win at all costs, because King holds the most important secret of all to the Droods: the identity of the traitor in our midst."

Green is back with his third Eddie Drood adventure, and it's a great one. As Eddie says, he's one of six contestants chosen by Alexander King to receive the grandest of all grand prizes: all the secrets that King has accumulated in his years of spying. Eddie's competitors are known to him, some more than others. There's the Blue Fairy, once a friend of Eddie's, dragged into the Hungry Gods war, and now persona non gratis among the Droods for stealing one of their golden torcs. Honey Lake is tall and beautiful, and she's CIA. Lethal Marmony from Kathmandu ("call me Katt") is just as beautiful as Honey, and just as deadly for other reasons. Peter King, industrial spy, is also Alexander King's grandson. And then there's the last contestant, the one I was happiest to see, Walker. Yes, that Walker - from the Nightside. WOW! I love it when an author has crossovers between series, and Green has had a bit of that before, but this was just fabulous. Walker explains later in the book why he's there and not John Taylor, the other most famous Nightside resident, and I have to say, it totally makes sense.

Once the field is set, the contestants are given teleportation bracelets and told they must solve five mysteries, ones that end up being fairly famous. Like, the Loch Ness monster, Roswell, etc. The resolutions are interesting, and yes, they start trying to kill each other off pretty quickly. (One of the nice things is Green's use of pop culture - there's a quick but brilliant reference to the movie Highlander.) The action is quick-paced, driving the story along. There isn't much new here as far as character development, unless you count Walker, who we've never really known much about to start with.

My only complaint with this work is Green's constant "I'm a Drood" line from Eddie. He does almost everything he does "because I'm a Drood", he tells his fellow spies, over and over again. After a while, it felt very cliche and even annoying, sort of like when your mother would tell you not to do something, and if you asked why, you got the pat Mom-ism "Because I said so!" It's an answer, but it's not, not really. There are a few sections where I'm also pretty sure that Green used the exact same descriptive paragraph, word for word, rather than come up with something new. Now, he's done that before, such as the descriptions of Hawk and Fisher in each of those books. However, it's not nearly as noticeable when you're talking about different volumes of a work, rather than in the same work farther along towards the back of the book. Just felt a bit like Green was getting lazy.

Overall, I have really enjoyed the Eddie Drood series. This book would also work well for fans of action-adventure yarns, spy thrillers, fantasy.... well, pretty much anyone that likes a good read!

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