Top critical review
Good pastiche, could be so much better with careful proof-reading and critique.
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.