Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars None of us can be trusted. We're all agents, 7 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Spy Who Haunted Me: Secret Histories Book 3 (Paperback)
"My name is Drood; Eddie Drood. Also known as Shaman Bond, the very secret agent. I face down the monsters, so you don't have to."

The first two books of the Secret Histories series was all about the nasty secrets and political upheavals of the Drood family -- and now at last, it's time for the dark-fantasy-James-Bond stuff. The third book "The Spy Who Haunted Me" is where the series really starts to take flight, with a murder mystery wrapped up in a lurid string of supernatural conspiracies -- from elves to aliens, from ancient monsters to angry ghosts.

After Eddie thwarts a bizarre caper in the Tower of London, he's called home to hear of a new problem facing the Droods -- there's a traitor among them, who is responsible for some of the nasty stuff they've dealt with.

Unfortunately the only person who knows the traitor's identity is the legendary Independent Agent, Alexander King -- and since King is dying, he's holding a special contest to discover which secret agent is worthy of inheriting his secrets and vast knowledge. Eddie is one of the chosen six -- along with the treacherous Blue Fairy, a pair of real-life Bond girls (one CIA, one a lethal seductress), King's fussy corporate grandson, and the mysterious Walker of the Nightside.

The unlikely team is given five tasks to complete, all of them tracking powerful, horrible creatures across the universe -- Loch Ness, the elven world, Tunguska and so on. But then people start turning up with broken necks, and it becomes clear that someone is murdering agents so they can get the prize. And it turns out the Independent Agent has some nasty little tricks up his sleeve for anyone who tries to get his knowledge...

Somehow the first two Secret Histories books never clicked with me -- too much Drood politics and Droodcentric nastiness. But "The Spy Who Haunted Me" is where the storyline relaxes into a stretch of the bizarre and grotesque, and adds some intense mystery and conspiracy into the mix. Green even includes glimpses of his other works: some forays into the Nightside (including a fight in Strangefellows) and mentions of Shadows Fall.

Green still has his knack for writing dark, creepy stuff (such as Pound of Flesh Inc.) and infusing it with a wicked sense of humor ("And then you can make the poor guy sit up on his slab and tell us what happened. Right, Walker?" "It was just the one time!"). And he weaves a spellbinding little series of subplots, with Eddie and Co. exploring different supernatural hotspots and discovering the very shocking realities behind alien abduction, the Philadelphia Experiment, and mysterious creatures in the backwoods.

And he embroiders his dark, creepy little world with all sorts of freaky characters (a "necroleptic" who drops dead every now and then), nasty problems (a living elf impaled on roses) and weird supernatural background for all sorts of stuff. But the Droods are not neglected -- there's a nasty conspiracy, a traitor, and a terrible secret in the Russian permafrost that is just ITCHING to make a future reappearance.

And Eddie Drood is becoming a very likable anti-hero, with his nimble tongue and frequently bruised morals -- he's a nice guy in a cruel world, and in this book he struggles with the idea that an agent must be a heartless murderer. Walker makes a good counterpoint for him (ancient, dapper and virtually unstoppable), while the ever-unhappy Blue Fairy, Honey Lake and Lethal Harmony (how very Bond girl!) add color to the cast. Peter, on the other hand, is a snotty little dip.

"The Spy Who Haunted Me" is a turning point for the formerly okay-but-not-great Secret Histories series, and there are some loose threads that promise to be interesting in the future. As the Walker would say, it behooves Green to write more.
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