Ghost of a Chance: A Ghost Finders novel by Simon R. Green review
Ghost of a Chance: A Ghost Finders novel by Simon R. Green is the first book in a new series of a team of agents that “kick’s the ectoplasm butt” of ghosts, haunting and other supernatural ooga booglies. It is to be released on August 31, 2010. Published by Ace, ISBN: 978-0-441-01916-8, $7.99, 272 pages mass paperback.
On a side note: I cannot find an official author site for Simon R. Green so I am going to direct you to his publisher’s site instead with the book information for this specific book as well as his other series. http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Search/QuickSearchProc/1,,Author_1000012976,00.html
Book description: “The Carnacki Institute exists to “Do Something” about Ghosts-and agents JC Chance, Melody Chambers, and Happy Jack Palmer will either lay them to rest, send them packing, or kick their nasty ectoplasm arses with extreme prejudice.”
I have only read a few books of Simon R Green’s before this. I am most familiar with his short stories in various anthologies with a few dabblings in his popular urban fantasy Nightside series. I find him to be a hit and miss author for my tastes. Some I like and some I hate to admit I get bored with. However, I was very excited about this book as I love Ghostbuster type stories. They are rare to find as most urban fantasy or horror books focus on demons, were-wolves and vampires (with a side trip into the fae (or fairies) area. The idea of an agency that focuses on not only finding, but stopping and/or researching ghosts in a more aggressive manner appealed to me.
In regards to the characters: Melody is the smart computer tech geek that I can identify with a little too much while Happy Jack is the telepath who I find potentially hilarious. JC Chance on the other hand was a bit…bland. He is a bit of the dashing James Bond type who I will admit, I find boring (I read and watch the movies for the action story, not the James Bond character who I find too misogynistic in most books.). A few villains in the story I found too stereotypical. Hell, their dialogue reminded me of movie lines I would find from an Austin Powers movie. Even the description of one evil vixen’s motives and clothes.
Overall, I found most of the story coming across as too forced. The descriptions of something evil and other were actually kind of awesome. The sense of dread and descriptions of certain horror scenes were truly effective However, anytime any of the characters would speak or act, it derailed the whole tone of true horror. It was like watching Austen Powers (or some other clown) arriving on set of The Shining trying to find the evil presence. The characters didn’t seem to act in an “organic” manner. Everything seemed very forced including their dialogue and interactions with each other. I could predict what was going to happen with each one and their way of interacting as it was so stereotypical. I also found Simon R. Green to be guilty a lot of doing the telling instead of showing. With the introduction of each character, there would be a background bio describing their past to explain their personalities and talents which was kind of weird for me as a reader as I don’t usually come across that type of thing except in role playing games.
For me, the story was okay and had the potential to be something either really scary or really comedic, but the humor again just would fall flat with the way this mix of the story was written. It needed to go one way or the other as both tones was kind of jarring when it would switch. Also, the climax of the story was a letdown for me. I literally was like, “You got to be kidding me. That’s it?” There was also one relationship that got focused on that had me banging my head on the desk as it was too sudden and made no sense except as a ploy to potentially keep one character around and have the other go and do things that character would not normally do in such a situation.
Again, I didn’t hate the book. I just was disappointed with it as I thought it could’ve been so much more. I would say it was okay for a one time read if you’re a big fan of Simon R. Green, but I wouldn’t rush out to get it. I give it maybe 3 stars out of 5 due to liking certain scenes and descriptions that was chilling, but for the most part the book fell flat for me. Great potential, but not a keeper.