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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 April 2017
Should be about 3.5-3.75 stars. It is more than merely OK. The basic idea is a version of the "Man from UNCLE" focused on the supernatural and alien. However, apart from one incident at the beginning of the first story, this is not primarily about otherworldly beings of the Cthulu type. The threats are from deranged megalomaniacs, so just like UNCLE or Bond. The action takes place in a kind of modernised steam-punk/SF/magical alt universe (electro-punk, perhaps, as there are mobile phones and airships, as well as zombies and dragons.)

The stories have a similar level of detail/complexity/reality as the "Man from ..." or the Bond movies and as such, they work quite well. The hero is disrespectful to authority, but is the best agent, so can't be sidelined.

So far, so good. However, the author sometimes contradicts himself or sets up scenarios that do not work properly even within the context of the books' own logic. It is frustrating to feel that one has thought out a implication of the narrative that the author apparently has not and which actually ruins the premise. There is also the feeling that the hero, and others, sometimes behave inconsistently solely in order to allow a particular scenario to occur and to drive the plot forward. Human beings are complex and inconsistent, but we are not talking about nuanced characterisation here. We have the hero travelling unarmed because it is only a "fact-finding" mission, but an armed agent would be inconvenient to the plot at that point, so the gun is forgotten. On at least two occasions he creates impossible situations from which people nevertheless escape, but the escapes are never explained.

Finally, and for me, most frustratingly, the actual writing is often very poor. There are frequent typos and odd grammatical constructions that are either the result of typos or the introduction of Americanisms, even though both the lead character and the author are actually British. At an early stage, these problems were so bad that I almost gave the book back for a refund. I am glad I finished this trilogy, but am not sure I want to pay as much for future individual stories, esp. if they are as poorly presented.

The author really needs to get a proof-reader to check for typos that the author cannot see, but he also needs a good friend to give him honest criticism about glaring plot-holes and inconsistencies. I thought it would be kind to contact the author rather than post a negative review, but to date I have had no response to my email.
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on 9 June 2014
I got this because it was cheap and I was frustrated at having just paid a lot of money for a truly awful book by a well known author. It was actually really good. The writing is good, snappy and funny (in a Douglas Adams sort of way), the plot moves along well, and the action is well paced.

I tend not to write reviews of books that I like because they usually already have tons of good reviews but this one didn't so it's worth mentioning that it's a fun, lighthearted read and I totally recommend it.
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on 17 April 2014
The Curious Case of the Kidnapped Chemist, as the start of a primarily epublished series, has the advantage of being a full length novel available for a pittance as a hook for the books that follow, and it's a pretty good hook. Don't get me wrong; it's not exactly replete with surprises or nuanced characters, but then again it's essentially a fantasy/horror homage to The Man from UNCLE, so treacherous blondes, eccentric - often doomed - experts and insane plans for world domination are not merely expected, they are pretty much de rigueur, and on that standard it's a fun read, well worth the money.

Three books in, however, there is a touch of sameness creeping. Moreover, the set-up and pay-off are not balanced or matched, so that mad plans in the denouement are based not on anything that has come before, but on conceits of the fictional world which have not previously been mentioned, which for my money is a significant failing.

Read more at my books blog:[...]
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on 11 June 2012
I've read and loved these three books as separate editions. I'm very pleased to see them available as a collection.

Darren Humphries' books tick all my boxes. Wonderful language, winding story lines that are so well done they are effortless to follow, great characters and creatures, and, especially in his UNDEAD trilogy, laugh out loud humour. I eagerly await further adventures from Agent Ward.
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on 18 February 2013
It is an easy, interesting & fun read. Love the ideas wrapped around good adventure stories with just the right amount of humour and good characters.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2012
Again I have to start a review with the spiel that I don't usually read this genre but the Kindle allowing me to read outside my usual comfort zone has, once again, opened up my eyes to a whole new world...
And what a world - this book is a "funtastic" romp through time and fantasy, mixing ancient and modern with futuristic, all acted out by a wonderful cast of characters - all with their own quirks - some more than others, but all rather special in their own ways!
Oh and all this is punctuated with some wonderful descriptive phrases and some extremely funny one-liners.
Mr Humphries is well and truly cemented onto my "watch list" :)
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on 10 April 2013
I found myself laughing along in places. The main character is just hopeless enough to stop the story being a foregone conclusion and the scifi twists are often novel.
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on 30 May 2013
Brilliant "What if". Similar vein to Charles Stross The Laundry Files but more in line with the The Man from UNCLE & MIB.
May he write more!
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on 20 August 2012
Found by accident, thought i would give it a go. Very glad i did, funny, observational and very good pace. Excellent.
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on 30 September 2013
A 3 novels in one compendioum.

A humorous crossover of the spy and horror genres. Mostly centering on puns based on bond-isms and alternative naming of pop culture references in a world where magic trumps science. Chuckleworthy.
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