May’s pick comes from Kate, who has chosen the SF/mystery title DEAD MAN WALKING by Simon R Green:
“From the wonderfully inventive and original pen of bestselling SF/fantasy writer Simon R. Green comes DEAD MAN WALKING: a glorious mash-up of traditional country house murder mystery, le Carre-esque spy thriller, the classic locked-room puzzle and bone-chilling horror, not to mention one of the most unusual detectives in the crime fiction canon. An alien who has been trapped on earth in human form since 1963, Ishmael Jones has several distinguishing features which ably assist in his detection work, notably his acute senses of hearing and smell, as well as his superhuman strength – which comes in very handy on occasion! At the same time, with his wickedly droll, very human sense of humour and dryly witty asides, Ishmael brings to mind classic detective heroes in the traditional Philip Marlowe mould.
Dispatched to Ringstone Lodge in deepest Yorkshire to interview Frank Parker, a rogue agent who has come in from the cold and wants to spill his secrets, Ishmael arrives to find an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. As his fellow residents are picked off one by one, Ishmael sets out to prove that it’s human trickery rather than any supernatural being behind the seemingly ghostly goings-on. But matters are about to take a decidedly unexpected turn …
I’m not sure how Simon Green manages to be hilarious yet grotesquely gruesome at the same time, yet he pulls it off magnificently! The fast-moving, twisting plot kept me gripped throughout – and I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys an intriguing mystery enlivened by a dash of the supernatural, a hint of the macabre and a liberal sprinkling of humour.”