I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Very Important Corpses by Simon R. Green
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Published by Severn House Publishers Ltd on March 1, 2017
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Tales of the Hidden World, From a Drood to a Kill, The Dark Side of the Road, Dead Man Walking, Moonbreaker, Dr. DOA, Property of a Lady Faire
Third in the Ishmael Jones dark urban fantasy sci-fi series and revolving around an alien-transformed-to-human super-secret operative with his human partner, Penny Belcourt.
Aha! The series arc is Ishmael Jones. Okay, too obvious, you say? The wrinkle is that Ishmael lost his memory seventy-some years ago and has been operating in the dark. Now his memory is starting to come back. And it’s scaring Penny.
It’s literally a narrative hook with that first line — “Call me Ishmael” and incorporates a dark-and-stormy-night plot beat. The story itself is a bit Jack Reacher and a bit James Bond with a healthy dose of Green’s Nightside and Secret Histories series — and this is the first time that Green mentions the Droods, specifically.
Ishmael thinks of his strategy much as Reacher does, and our knowledge of it comes through from that first-person protagonist point-of-view, since we get are able to get inside his head. Of course, it’s not just Reacher-type thinking, but also Reacher-type winning, and I do so enjoy Ishmael letting loose on the “bad” guys, lol.
Green makes use of past narrative flashbacks to provide us with background on Ishmael, Penny, Chris, and the Organisation, and they’re a good example of providing info without dumping it on the reader.
It always blows my mind that people are so intent on keeping secrets that could help clear the mystery up, although since it is a locked-room(s) mystery, it’s inevitable that there are facts unknown.
Their last agent murdered, the Organisation is sending Ishmael Jones to Scotland to be in charge of all the security for the conference with the remit to root out the imposter within the Group and discover who murdered a fellow agent.
It may appear to be an unnatural creature, but Ishmael doesn’t believe in ghosts. He does believe in creative humans, and he intends to expose whoever it is. IF he can act fast enough before everyone is murdered.
In 1963, Ishmael Jones’ spaceship crashed, but the transformer was also damaged, not enough that it couldn’t transform Jones into a human-like being, but enough that Ishmael’s memories were lost. He’s been a dark secret agent since then in return for their protection. Penny Belcourt has been his human partner since the end of The Dark Side of the Road, 1.
The Baphomet Group is…
…made up of twelve economic movers and shakers who make the decisions that affect the world. They answer to no one, not even their own names. Instead they have adopted the months of the year. December is their chairman. October, a financial genius, is always running late. January and March are pretending to have an affair. August is having his own affair. All the families have had dealings with the hidden world.
Irwin is one of the private security people. John Smith is one of the chauffeurs. The professional escorts include Scarlett who is a former field agent, the Lovely Lola, Georgina who is a professional tomboy, Maurice as the muscle man, Lady Paine is la Belle Dame sans Merci, Range Rider, and Wanda Whiplash.
Coronach House is…
…located on the shores of Loch Ness and is rented out to interested parties. The Major Domo, a.k.a., Helen McGregor, is in charge. Emily, Ruby, and Laura are maids. Holroyd is another of the staff.
Christopher Baron is what he calls himself these days, and he’s the current Head of House Security. He’s known Ishmael from way back in the day, 1964 to be exact, and he isn’t aging, either.
The Organisation is…
…a super-secret group whose mission is to protect Humanity from things that don’t officially exist. This new Colonel (who has a stick up his backside and is incredibly frustrated that he doesn’t know all he wants about Ishmael) is the middle man. Jennifer Rifkin was the first agent assigned to the Baphomet conference.
Black Heir is a similar organisation that cleaned up after alien contacts, salvaging any tech they left behind. Other organisations that either Ishamel or Baron worked with included the Science Pirates, the Beachcombers, and the Demon Runners. Crow Lee had been the Most Evil Man in the World. The Case of the Positive/Negative Double Agent screwed up both their careers. The Immortals were a group of shapeshifters who wanted to rule the world. The Droods are a family who have watched over the world, ensuring its survival, and terrifying world governments and bad guys. Frank Parker was a traitor in Dead Man Walking, 2.
The Cover and Title
The cover is so very dark with its blacks and deep, deep blues. Ishmael, his shoulders hunched in jacket and jeans, stands before Coronach House in a stark landscape under dark and stormy skies, just a hint of moon allowing us to see the house. All the text is in white with the series information at the very top, the author’s name burnt and distressed immediately below it, the title in its thin font is below that, and informational blurbs are at the very bottom.
The title is for the Baphomet Group, for they make Very Important Corpses.