Spirits From Beyond (A Ghost Finders Novel)
by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425259931
Date: 27 August 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
In Spirits from Beyond, Simon R. Green continues the adventures of the Ghost Finders--JC Chance, telepath Happy Jack Palmer, and techno-genius Melody Chambers. And some adventures they are. In this nonstop thrill ride, they: reunite with JC's girlfriend, take on a not-so-quiet cult deep beneath London, stroll into the Carnacki Institute's most heavily guarded and forbidden installation, and contend with a very unquiet spirit at a countryside inn...one with a dire reputation.
First things first. Kim has asked JC to find her at the wreckage of the Chimera House, where the team encountered the Flesh Undying. This enemy was not brought down--and a suspected traitor in their midst remains undetected--so that this trip promises vastly more danger than most jaunts.
But just finding Kim isn't the hard part. The team must go deep under London to the historical ruins beneath, where lurk the twisted remnants of Britain's bygone denizens--and a being of unspeakable power. It's a trap indeed but one none of the team could have expected, and only a grim bargain offers a chance of not being a sacrifice.
After this warm up, the team realizes that they need information if they're going to root out the traitor. The best bet is the Carnacki Institute's secret library, full of information that nobody is supposed to know exists. JC intends to find out what's going on in the London Underground--which seems to be seeing far more uncanny events than it should--as well as the truth behind his own personal transformation.
Of course, nothing happens that their boss does not eventually discover, so the team is sent out on what's meant to be an easy assignment--far from London. Bishop's Landing is about as far from London as one can go in the West Country, and the King's Arms is a tavern with a reputation: nobody stays there overnight. And the Ghost Finders quickly discover, that's for a very good reason.
Green sets up some worthy challenges for the team in this adventure, but the story is really more about how relationships suffer when the couple is under truly extraordinary stress. JC and Kim, on one hand, and Happy Jack and Melody on the other both struggle with issues of trust and the age old question of "am I enough?" Happy Jack's personal demons threaten to overturn what might be the healthiest attachment he's ever had, while Kim's secrets gnaw at JC's ability to trust his ghostly girlfriend, even as everyone around him says he shouldn't.
The King's Arms reflect this emotional turmoil, being surrounded by a perpetual storm even as a seemingly innocent girl wanders around inside. The bar's owner, a former Carnacki employee himself, is in over his head, and the team--left without much of Melody's equipment and Happy Jack's equilibrium both--is thwarted in what ought to be an easy assignment. Getting to the bottom of the problem is going to force the team to resolve some of their tensions, lest the dangers outside and inside tear them apart for good.
There are the usual delightful new additions to Green's vast supernatural world in this novel, such as the Empty Librarian (who serves in the secret library) and the forgotten god Lud, who has an intriguing perspective on the deeds of humanity during his long slumber. And, for Green's many fans, there's a quick shout-out to the Droods (of his Secret Histories series) and why they aren't necessarily the worst thing in the world.
Setting up a new mystery on the final page, Green keeps the action and laughs flowing in equal measure. Here's hoping for many more adventures of this terrific quartet.