Michael, in his review of the second Ghost Finders novel, Ghost of a Smile, has the perfect introduction to the series: ‘When you have a problem with ghosts, you call the Carnacki Institute. They’ll discreetly handle everything from poltergeists to Big Black Dogges, exorcising or just plain terrorizing phantoms until they go away. The newest A-Team for the Institute is also one of its strangest. There’s the overly enthusiastic leader, JC Chance; the pill-popping pessimistic telepath, Happy Jack Palmer; the technogeek Melody Chambers; and their resident ghost, Kim Sterling. They may not be the first choice, but they’re usually the best.’
The series ran six novels, with this being the final novel. I read the first two, Ghost of a Chance and Ghost of a Smile, when they came out not quite a decade ago and frankly found them fairly flat, not the least reason being that they seemed to be at best tangentially connected to the splendidly weird metaverse that the rest of his writing took place in, including the Deathstalker, Forest Kingdom, Hawk & Fisher, Nightside and Secret History series, which was barely touched upon in those Ghost novels. It was almost as if he wanted a series separate from those undertakings.
Not so here, where the final novel, which wraps up story lines rather well, positively brims with details that mark it as being in that reality be it a Hand Of Glory made from the remains of Drood or one of the characters turning out to be the granddaughter of a Nightside recurring character. Possibly Green decided that he should make sure that it was completely obvious this series is an intrinsic part of his playground.
I’ll get to the story in a minute, but let me turn to the audiobook, which is is produced by GraphicAudio, whose deep voiced slogan is A Movie in Your Mind (think Orson Welles on a very dark night) and damned if they’re not right. They’ve done most of Green’s work save (I’m fairly sure) the pre-Deathstalker books and several stand-alone novels in this metaverse as true full cast productions with amazing music and movie quality sound work. I’ve always only listened to these work when walking using an iPod and standard headphones, but even that way I’ll say the listening experience is indeed that of a movie in my mind.
The story here is that an alien force of beyond anything anyone has ever encountered has been forced into this reality and plans on remaking our world for its own purposes. (Green likes the idea of such beings, as ones figure intrinsically into the Nightside and Secret History series as well.) At the same time, the organization the Ghost Finders work for has been infiltrated by a group that thinks it can control this alien force for its own purposes.
The latter force out the Ghost Finders boss, who then allies them with The Crowley Institute, the institute named for Aleister Crowley, the English occultist that Green has made a character in his stories. Together they must find a way to stop the unstoppable while all planning to betray each other.
Every major plot line is neatly wrapped up here from the weird relation of JC the living and Kim the ghost and the touching and equally weird couple that’s Melody and the not long for this world Happy, and the very much deserved fate of Natasha Chang, the Crowley Institute agent who quite literally eats ghosts and who hungers after Kim. Green of course creates weird characters such as a older than humanity being who was worshipped as an Egyptian God and the Flesh Undying, the aforementioned alien being.
The story itself is essentially one scene after another of delightfully Weird Shit happening to the Ghost Finders and the other characters herein. I won’t say anything more about this story beyond the fact that very few of the Ghost Huntets, et al. will survive, but even that makes sense.
Oh, and I think you can actually experience this without encountering the previous five books as Green has made it possible to grasp the background story rather well, but if you like it, by all means listen to the forgoing works as they’re quite fun, even if the first several are somewhat sketchy on the rest of the metaverse.