Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Into the Thinnest of Air by Simon R. Green

I'm a big fan of Simon R. Green's Ishmael Jones mysteries. They feature an unconventional sleuth, an alien who crashed landed in England in 1963, and some fifty years later he works for the Organization, protecting humanity from otherworldly threats. He looks like us, and blends in. In fact, he doesn't want to be noticed. He is understated, with a tongue-in-cheek dry humor. The latest adventure, Into the Thinnest of Air, beautifully blends horror and a country house mystery.

Ishmael's partner, Penny, would like one weekend when they could just be normal. What could go wrong when they accept an invitation for dinner at Tyrone's Castle? It was once a smuggler's haven, a Cornish inn where Elliot Tyrone poisoned all of his Christmas dinner guests in 1886, saying the Voices told him to do it. Ishmael and Penny will be just a normal couple at a normal dinner.

Albert and Olivia Calvert were once friends of Penny's late father. They invited her, along with the vicar and his wife, a reporter and an author, but Ishmael was unexpected. The others had all been childhood friends, and the couple prepares a special meal. Then, when Olivia goes to the kitchen to fetch dessert, she disappears. The others decide to call the police, only to discover their cell phones are gone. Their car keys also seem to have vanished. When they give into their fears, and don't listen to Ishmael's advice to stick together, another person disappears.

Ishmael and Penny listen as the others terrorize themselves, trying to decide how they could prevent the worst things they can possibly imagine. Fears and imagination frighten them, and they even decide to hold a seance. Ishmael plays along reluctantly, letting the others know he doesn't believe in ghosts or the supernatural. But, there's something menacing in the atmosphere in the castle. Even Ishmael admits it feels as if someone is watching and listening.

Into the Thinnest of Air is a wonderfully creepy, darkly humorous story. Green, author of The Nightside and Secret History series, understands the relationship between fear and imagination. Into the Thinnest of Air, an unusual spin on the country house mystery, is another enjoyable vehicle for Green's "normal" couple.

Simon R. Green's website is

Into the Thinnest of Air by Simon R. Green. Severn House. 2017. ISBN 9780727887573 (hardcover), 167p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I really need to get the first one. I just read his new collection, and I've read a lot of his other books.

Kay said...

Oh, this does sound good. I love a castle and a disappearance, etc. Kind of sounds like the movie Murder By Death. I still have not read any books by this author. Maybe this series is a good place to start.

Lesa said...

Jeff & Kay - Yes, I'd start with this series. A little creepy, but not as gruesome as some of this others.

Glen Davis said...

I've read some of Green's sci-fi/fantasy books, but never one of these.

Lesa said...

Glen, You read such a variety. You might want to give one of these a try. For all three of you, The Dark Side of the Road is the first in the series.