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The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. Green

The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. GreenThere was a time when a Simon R. Green novel was a unique sort of thing. But ever since Green jumped in the supernatural detective trend with both feet, his novels come off an assembly line. And the entire Secret Histories series, in which Green tries to differentiate himself from all the Jim Butcher wannabes by writing a supernatural spy novel (he already has a supernatural detective series in Nightside and new supernatural investigator Chance novels) come off as the worst of the bunch.

Even by those standards The Spy Who Haunted Me is ridiculously generic. Green is phoning it in and not even trying to hide it anymore. The Drood novels were already bogged down by never being more than James Bond parodies with the same main character you see in every Green series (a reluctant hero in his 20’s who plays by his own rules and makes cutting remarks and has an open-ended superpower), but The Spy Who Haunted Me jettisons most of the background to have Eddie Drood join a few existing characters and some generic Bond types on a quest to solve mysteries like the Loch Ness Monster or the Roswell landings.

Green isn’t even bothering here and it shows. There are paragraphs of redundant description and contradictory character remarks coming in a few lines of one another, to give you a proper First Draft effect. Most problems are solved with Eddie Drood’s armor with the other characters contributing nothing except quips. This goes on forever until we reach a predictable and anti-climactic ending.

Simon R. Green is writing too many novels now to do a good job. But you can still look at the difference between The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny and The Spy Who Haunted Me, to see which of them actually get some quality time, and which get rushed off the assembly line. And both pale sadly next to some of the older Deathstalker novels. It’s hard to blame Green for cashing in on a trend, but he’s destroying his own appeal by churning dozens of books that all read the same, have the same characters and quips and situations.

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