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2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
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on 14 October 2010
I cannot be the only fan of Simon Green who is deeply disappointed by this book. It is a bit like reading Scooby Doo meets Ghostbusters. For a while I thought it was meant to be a juvenile novel, until I came across the first sexual reference and had to revise my ideas. It is a rambling tale of hauntings in the London Underground and their exorcism by a group of dysfunctional operatives working for a secret organisation operating out of Buckingham Palace. I could not work out if HM is supposed to be M. The book lacks the verve and sheer readability that the author achieves so well in Nightside and the Drood novels. I hope he sticks to these and does not try to turn this novel into a Ghostfinders series.
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on 8 February 2011
I love Simon R Green and have read all his books but if he writes another Ghostfinders I will not be buying it.

The characters are weak and unlikeable, he repeats the same information about them continually through the book. There is no depth or magentism that is so present in Eddie Drood or John Taylor to balance the unsavoury parts. The horror is reminiscent of early Dean Koontz or the first Masterson books from 20-30 years ago. If I didnt know better I would think this was a first novel and that the Nightside and Secret Histories were written long after he had developed his story writing skills.

As a previous critic has commented I also thought it was maybe teenage fiction but apparently not - I struggled to take this novel seriously in any way and did not engage with it - It was like one of those terrible films you watch to see if the ending is any good having invested the time to rent it only to find that it was as truly uninspiring and predictable as you had thought it would be.

I eagerly await my next Drood installment and Nightside debacle but would find it a crying shame if he expends more effort creating a series out of this wishy washy effort instead of focusing on the supreme established series we already have.

In short it is 2 hours of life you wont get back so if you havent read any of the Nightside or Secret Histories then spend your pennies on those instead as they are Infinitely superior. This one will be going to the charity shop as it is not fit to sit on my bookshelf in my Simon R Green collection

Sorry Simon !
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 November 2010
First Sentence: These days, ghosts turn up in the damnedest places.

Members of the Carnacki Institute JC Chance, team leader; Melody Chambers, scientist; and telepath Happy Jack Palmer; are in the London Underground due to an entity are up against employees from the Crowley Project as well as something evil in the London Underground causing the trains to eat the passengers.

I thought this would be the perfect book to read in October and it started off well. The first chapter is passive enough yet makes you turn on extra lights and wonder at the wisdom of reading this book when you're alone. Unfortunately, things go downhill quickly from there.

It's not Green's writing. His skill at painting a visual picture is certainly in evidence as he provides our first look at the protagonists describing them as "three figures standing together in the middle of the car park, looking expectantly about them like theatre patrons waiting for the play to begin." He also raises the same point as those of us who watch ghost-hunting shows: "Why can't ghosts manifest during working hours?" At the same time, I found the hyperbole excessive to the point of irritation. There was no balance and every entity was the most evil they'd ever encountered.

Where Green really lost me reading this book was the characters. What makes Green's "Nightside" books work so well is that they focus on Jack Taylor, who lends a sense of reality to a surreal work. In this book, not one of them is interesting, empathetic or remotely likable. Where I knew it was time to stop reading was when I found myself hoping the nasty spirits would eat all the characters. It's back to the "Nightside" for me.

GHOST OF A CHANCE (Para Inves-JC Chance/Melody Chambers/Happy Jack Palmer-NYC-Urban Fantasy) - DNF
Green, Simon R. - 1st of series
ACE, ©2010 (Reprint), US Paperback - ISBN: 9780441019168
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on 15 June 2014
"Ghost Of A Chance" is the first novel in the Ghost Finders-series by Simon R. Green, and as I'm a fan of his work, it was a no-brainer for me to buy this urban-fantasy action adventure story. But being a fan doesn't mean I can't be critical when he produces a real stinker. While this one isn't (quite) that bad, it is way below par, especially when compared to his Nightside- or Secret Histories-series.

The basic concept has a lot of potential: you've got these so-called Ghost Finders, a British version of the Ghostbusters, only these are agents of the Carnacki Institute, a run-of-the-mill Secret Agency whose main task is to hunt things that go bump in the night while keeping a stiff upper lip. The team: first there's the intellectual J.C. Chance, who is supposed to be a rather suave leader but comes across as an annoying, overtly-optimistic jerk. Then there's the kinky techno-geek Melody Chambers, more interested in high tech gadgetry than people, and the class-11 telepath "Happy" Jack Palmer, who's so neurotic he's constantly popping pills to keep his badly battered nerves under control.

The plot in a nutshell: JC's three-agent team gets sent on a mission is to help solve a problem in London's Underground at Oxford Circus Station. Something has gone horribly wrong there, as commuters have disappeared and it seems that the trains down there have started eating people. Indeed, there's Something down there: an ancient and powerful Lovecraftian-type Being that is threatening to break through to our universe, and it's up to our hapless trio to kick its ectoplasmic behind. But there's another big problem: the rival team from the Crowley Institute, the evil counterpart of the Carnacki Institute, that wants to utilize the paranormal for their own selfish ends.

On the negative side of the ledger: Although I usually like Green's hyperbole style of writing, in this book it was at times so excessive that it started to grate. And the characters didn't have much appeal either. Even by the end of the novel, I still couldn't bring myself to really like them. They have only a few character traits, and we get reminded about these ad-nauseam. Tellingly, it was the "evil team" I found most interesting. And then the way J.C. Chance fell in love with that ghostly lady at first sight... utterly unbelievable.

On the plus side: As I mentioned above, the character dynamics remind me of "Ghostbusters," one of my favorite movies, and the never-ending banter between the characters is at times very comedic. Besides the rather slow start, the storytelling is fast-paced and Green has created an interesting world. It has his usual camp and punny humor. And there are some other fun bits as well: did anyone catch the inside jokes, like that the Carnacki Institute is a direct reference to William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghostfinder? Or that the Crowley Institute references Aleister Crowley, the English occultist and writer?

Final verdict: it has the basics of what could have been a good book (hence my review-title "ghost of a book") but ultimately, even as a spoof of traditional horror novels, "Ghost Of A Chance" doesn't really work. Thus the two-stars.
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on 19 December 2012
I am convinced, as others have suggested, that this is a "trunk novel" written as a teenager and then dusted off and published when the author became famous. I can't believe that it was written by the same person as the other novels I have read and enjoyed, particularly the Hawk and Fisher books.

The first problem is the way that the author constantly puts his descriptive passages in to the mouths of the characters. Rambling Lovecraftian descriptions of the atmosphere at a haunting are fine as descriptive text but really - who communicates in so flowery and long-winded a fashion, particularly as they are supposed to be a team of professionals working on a tight time constraint?

The second, and more damaging problem is the characters. To say they are cardboard would be a massive understatement.
The worst of these is the female member of the unhappy cardboard band. Thelma from Scooby Doo equipped with an oversized pair of testicles and the unpleasant personality of a dead badger who feels a need to be constantly unpleasant and aggressive to everyone, male or female. This is one of those common cases where an author, in his quest to make a "strong" female character, simply has them act like a colossal dick to everyone. All the time.
In real life, not only would it be impossible for anyone to work or interact with such a person but, she would be lucky to make it through the day with all her teeth intact. Oh, no, wait. She's got guns and knives and everyone is terrified of her, as the author points out every two pages...

I could carry on for another couple of pages but I think you will get the point.

I'm off to re-read the Haven books again and hope to forget that this one ever existed.
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on 13 December 2015
I'm a long time fan of Simon R Green but l was bitterly disappointed with this book. I had read the mixed reviews but decided to give it a try anyway. Wish l hadn't bothered. Barely made it 3 chapters in before l was bored. Very repetitive and tedious. Not at all like his other books which seem to grip you pretty much from the get go. I usually try to give a book a good try before giving up on it but like l said l found this way too repetitive to continue any further.
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on 5 December 2010
This book was a huge disappointment. Simon Green usually writes engagingly and with strong, complex characterisation. However, I find it difficult to believe this was written by him or anyone who could claim to be an experienced writer. The writing is juvenile; the plot could have had possibilities but these were wasted; the characters were cardboard cut-outs poorly developed and the dialogue could have been better written by any senior secondary pupil studying English. This book would be an insult even to the teen reading audience, let alone a wider readership. Don't waste your money.
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on 10 October 2015
To be honest the bad guys were more interesting than the heroes. We never really got to really understand these people at all although the action rolled along merrily enough. I would have liked to understand more about the organisations that they all worked for. On the basis of this book it is really hard to understand why anyone would ever want to work for them.
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2010
Green is a highly engaging professional storyteller who can sometimes keep a series going past its sell-by date which I feel has been happening with the Nightside books. However, we now have this new series to look forward to and on the basis of this first book it's highly promising.

What I like about it particularly is its narrow focus. After the setup of the first two chapters which introduces the scenario and our team of three heroes, Green gets right down to business. Most of the novel is set within the confines of Oxford Street Tube Station transformed into a nightmarish place by some evil otherworldly power and takes place on just one night, maybe even only a couple of hours. Apart from our heroes there are only the two villains plus a collection of ghosts, demons and monsters. All five humans are smartly characterised and prone to wisecracking. The heroes are flawed and fallible but heroes nevertheless. The two villains, a sadistic seductress and a mad scientist and as enjoyably horrid as you could wish for, are on a mission to kill the heroes but inevitably they need to join forces. There's the odd bit of deus ex machina around but that's forgivable in an otherwise rattling unputdownable yarn.

Great fun, a bit like a good episode of your favourite tv series.

Sign me up for the next one please Mr Green.
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on 4 December 2010
As a great Simon R. Green fan I was looking forward to a new book that would grab me like Blue Moon series or even the stand alone book that have come before. I was badly disappointed!
The book seems to be a cop out from start to finish. A weak version of the Nightside... a very weak version.
The characters seem to be shadows of what have come before and have no depth.
Please Mr Green, I hate to slate your work so go back to what you do best and keep us fans happy and buying!
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