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A Few Words For The Dead by Guy Adams

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A Few Words For The Dead by Guy Adams

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: British Intelligence preternatural unit Section 37 (all two of them) each face a deadly nemesis while separated from the other. Does division mean death? Guy Adams' Clown Service saga Book 3 cracking stuff, good beyond words and thrilling beyond nail biting.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: April 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0091953195

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Warning: spoilers for both The Clown Service and The Rain-Soaked Bride follow so best read them first.

Remember the near-demonic Fratfield? Well, the honeymooning Toby and Tamara find themselves – and Fratfield – in the South American jungle. However, things aren’t running smoothly. Not only does Fratfield still control the forces of nature, now he has some help. Meanwhile back home a hitman prepares to continue his profession. The target? August Shining, Toby's boss, friend and wanted as an interview subject by MI6, should he live that long.

British author, journalist, former actor and former stand-up comedian Guy Adams proves once again that he can bring a nation's worth of fantasy/science-fiction fans to their knees begging for more. This is the third outing for August Shining, Toby Greene and 'The Clown Service', Section 37 of British Intelligence that deals with preternatural phenomena. (Preternatural rather than supernatural as the events may be explained by science one day.)

Guy admits to getting the name for this adventure from a Marillion song title. What he didn't realise then but does now (yep, I can't keep anything to myself!) is that the first verse speaking of lone working and death very much echoes the theme of the book. (I'll leave you to Google or listen for yourselves on that one.)

Indeed, Toby and August find themselves separated and each being pursued in one way or another by deadly and intangible nemeses. They each have a bit of help in that Toby has the new Mrs G (aka the wonderfully laconic and Eastern European Tamara) while August is assisted, at least for a while, by his waspish, deliciously irrepressible and game-for-anything sister, April.

As in the novel's predecessors, the aforementioned Clown Service and Rain-Soaked Bride, the personalities make it as much as the storyline. Ok, Toby has more experience and isn't as green (no pun intended... much) or clumsy as in the beginning but August is just as sarcastic, funny and... well... British. Think love child of James Bond and John Steed with a huge dose of G Adams esquire originality thrown in for fun.

I won't spoil anything but if you need confirmation of August's (and Guy's) sense of humour, most of August's scenes are full of his now trademark wryly raised eyebrow and finesse-honed sense of irony. It's also interesting for another reason: after keeping us totally in the present with Book 2, Guy (or rather August) takes us back to his younger self here in Book 3 as he narrates the sometimes scary, sometimes touching tale of his relationship (professional and otherwise) with an agent named Robie.

The scary bits aren't neglected though. The messages that odd people (not odd as in random people but as in people who are highly odd!) have given Toby throughout our time with him come more into focus in the light of what we learn. And then there's that totally heart-stopping moment in the park and...

The book blurb bills this as the spy thriller that Douglas Adams never wrote. Both the Adamses are funny definitely, but I don't think this is a fair statement as Guy has a more than proven track record of inventive creativity on his own account. In fact, the only downer in the whole thing is that he was only signed up to write three Clown Service novels. So, it's worth a try...

Dear nice publisher people, if this author can't be signed up for more, I shall cry bitter tears of disappointment and, looking at the rave reviews the series is getting, I have a feeling I won't be alone.

Thank you to the aforementioned dear nice publishing people at Del Rey for providing us with a copy for review.

Further Reading: I'm pretty sure you can put a pin in any of Guy's bibliography and come up smiling/quaking/ready for more but I'd be remiss in my duty if I didn’t reiterate that The Clown Service and The Rain-Soaked Bride should, at the very least, be read first. If you're already a fan and like your thrillers spattered with the blood of fantasy, The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris is also highly recommended. Guy Adams also contributed to Doctor Who: The Legends of River Song by Jenny T Colgan, Jacqueline Rayner, Steve Lyons, Guy Adams and Andrew Lane. It's a little different but you might like The Babylon Gene by Alex Churton.

Booklists.jpg A Few Words For The Dead by Guy Adams is in the Top Ten Thrillers of 2015.

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