SPOILERS... I am a huge fan of Michael Slade's Special X series of books. One of the things that kept me interested in the series as it progressed was that no characted seemed safe. Over the years Slade has put these mounties through the ringer. Some have died. Some have come through horrifically scarred either physically or mentally. I remember reading the end of his first novel, Headhunter, and being blown away by the last minute reveal, and immediately craving more. That particular story wasn't fully resolved until five books later. I also loved the history that was layered into the present day plot, and into the fantasy lives of the serial killers hunted by the mounties of Special X. And since Special X deals with crimes reaching outside of Canada I was treated to stories with roots in Jack The Ripper, Rorke's Drift, World War 2, Romans and Picts.
So now we have Red Snow, where a villain known as Mephisto, who has thumbed his nose at Special X twice before, intends to avenge himself upon the mounties during the winter olympics being held in Canada. This time he has brought along a group of merceneries, led by Stopwatch, another villain who has slipped by. Stopwatch's mission is to kill all of the people who saw Mephisto's face during the events of Death's Door.
Personally I was really disappointed by this story. It's Slade, but it's Slade-light. All of the things I loved are there but it seems watered down. It feels like it has been abreviated. Red Snow is filled with major events for the regular characters. In fact seven of them are killed off. One of them is the girlfriend of Robert Declerq, one of the main characters, who barely registers the fact that his friends are being killed around him. In fact virtually no-one seems to show any emotion at all. The history element seems to have been given only lip service, and the plot isn't nearly as complex as it usually is. What it amounts to is Mephisto killing some skier, and displaying his shrunken head, in a reference to the Headhunter case, in order to get Special X involved. That's just lame. You don't have to kill the skier, just kill the mounties, you know where they are. To top it all off, Mephisto escapes - again. Totally unsatisfying.
But then again, this is Slade. Maybe I missed something. I can only hope that something was left out of the Kindle edition.