Wednesday, December 21, 2016

REVIEW: The Dark Side of the Road

The Dark Side of the Road
Author: Simon R. Green

Ishmael Jones works for The Organization. He keeps to the shadows, never wanting to be noticed. It's his job to blend in and slip through society unseen and under the radar. When his boss, The Colonel, calls on him to investigate mysteries, dangerous people, or strange situations he does exactly as he's told. His job is to protect those who deserve it, and hunt down those who don't. When The Colonel tells him to join his family at Belcourt Manor for the Christmas holiday, Ishmael follows orders as usual, despite the fact that a blizzard is quickly making even main roads impassable. He arrives at the manor house,only to find that his boss has disappeared. As the snow storm effectively cuts the manor house off from the outside world and guests start turning up dead, the holiday festivities quickly disintegrate into a strange, locked room mystery.

Agatha Christie is my favorite author. I've loved her mystery novels since I was 9 years old and read The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The Dark Side of the Road reminded me quite a bit of Christie's style. The plot is very Christie-esque - a group of wealthy people gather together at an out of the way estate when one of them is found dead and a detective, who just happened to be invited, is there to puzzle out which guest is the murderer. This whodunit, however, is by Simon R.Green, so there are supernatural elements and strange twists added into the mix.

I didn't know exactly what to expect from this book. As a big fan of Green's Nightside series, I like his quirky writing style and strange plots. I was immediately on-board for this first book in the Ishmael Jones series, mostly out of curiosity to discover what Green could do with a murder mystery. I wasn't disappointed. The Dark Side of the Road is like a warped Agatha Christie novel. A classic style whodunit with a supernatural glow about it. Green makes multiple references to Christie's characters and book titles throughout the book, so the similarities are not accidental. As a classic mystery fan, I understood the sometimes cheesy character names and dialogue -- that comes with the territory. It made me enjoy the story even more. Once I got a couple chapters in and figured out where Green was headed with his story, I was hooked and couldn't put the book down.

There are two books in the Ishmael Jones series, with a third scheduled for publication in March 2017. Christie fans who also love a dip into the supernatural realm will love this series.

For more information about the author and his books, check out his website here

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