“The Dark Side of the Road”, a novel by Simon R. Green, is filled the intrigue and deliberate mystery of an Agatha Christie story, yet expressly attempting to find its own ground in the genre. As you get drawn into its mixture of old sensibilities and modern amenities, you’ll find yourself wrapped up the same as the story’s main character—Ishmael Jones—cozy and suspicious. Braving a tremendously dangerous blizzard, Ishmael’s problems are only beginning as he races to meet up with his capable boss the Colonel to help him solve something which endangered them both.
From the Baen Books website:
ISHMAEL JONES IS ON THE CASE. Paranormal private detective Ishmael Jones is invited to his employer's country house for Christmas just in time to become embroiled in a locked-room mystery with a supernatural twist.
I find that Simon does well at slipping in the clues for the reader to find at the same time Ishmael encounters them, making for an effective detective experience. In fact, the clues for all the novel’s mysteries are written well enough to keep me guessing quite a long time. The supernatural elements also caught my eye as they were introduced and I think other readers will be in for quite the surprise.
The main character, Ishmael, I felt does need some refinement from how he’s presented in The Dark Side of the Road. At certain points, his actions and inner dialogue could end up slightly contradictory when compared to points across the novel. However, I do think Ishmael still makes for a great vehicle for future stories and adventures and look forward to seeing more of him.
Overall, “The Dark Side of the Road” has thoroughly enticed me to look into more of Simon’s work on this character. If you aren’t too squeamish about the small amount of violence and descriptions of blood, this novel sits at the right comprehension level to be a pleasing afternoon read.