The Spy Who Haunted Me (Secret Histories, Book 3)
by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462725
Date: 02 June 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Eddie Drood, field agent extraordinaire of the family that keeps humanity safe from everything, has an assignment he cannot refuse--or fathom. The legendary Independent Agent is dying. He has invited six operatives to compete for his treasure trove of secrets by solving five impossible mysteries.
Naturally, the Droods cannot allow these secrets to fall into just anyone's hands. No matter how nasty it'll get, Eddie has to compete and win.
The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. Green actually begins with a short caper, wherein Eddie (under his cover identity "Shaman Bond") is hired to help commit a masterful crime. Problem is, he realizes quickly that he's a dupe. The trick for Eddie is figuring out the real target of the mastermind and foiling him without giving away his true identity as a Drood.
Once that thorny business is handled, he reports to the Matriarch of the extended Drood family for his latest assignment. He's to participate in a sort of scavenger hunt/mystery tour along with five of the world's most exotic agents. The group includes the Nightside's infamous Walker (from Green's Nightside series), the half-elf Blue Fairy (who did Eddie wrong not long past), the CIA's Honey Lake, the deadly Lethal Harmony of Kathmandu, and industrial spy Peter King, nephew of Alexander King (aka the Independent Agent).
The group is tasked with solving five great mysteries. There can be only one winner, so the stakes are almost literally life and death from the very beginning.
What seems like an innocuous conundrum--what is the truth behind the Loch Ness Monster?--becomes anything but when an effort to find the beast turns into a free-for-all on the shores of an infamous Scottish lake. And things don't get any better from there, as Eddie realizes that one (or more) of the players intend to win by bumping off the competition... permanently.
The latest distillate of Green's feral imagination, this volume asks the question, "Why would anyone want to be a special agent?" The pay is bad, the lifestyle is a killer and there's no such thing as gratitude--so why? Eddie grapples with this through the course of the book, seeing how the others have answered that question in their own ways, none of which work for him. The truth is almost a side-issue, as Eddie works through the twisty challenges set by King.
Astute readers will enjoy Green's liberal use of Easter eggs (for one, see how many of King's treasures you can name), as well as the challenge of figuring out what is happening. There are clues aplenty but the action keeps the story racing forward so fast, a reader may not have time to put it all together before Eddie does.
Eddie remains a classic Green hero: a knight in dirty armor, struggling to overcome an unfair world and maintain a shred of integrity. He fits right alongside Owen Deathstalker, John Taylor and Prince Rupert in a pantheon of good guys with bloody hands.
For the rest, Green delivers some interesting details about Walker that a Nightside-only reader might not pick up (as well as a visit to a certain bar that does not end well for anyone), plus some terrific new characters in Honey Lake (who seems unnaturally good at everything she does) and Alexander King. There are also visits to unusual settings (another Green specialty), such as the bottom of Loch Ness, a faerie court and a Russian ghost town where something truly awful awaits.
Spy Who Haunted Me is perhaps the best Eddie Drood adventure to date, with lots of snark, sardonic wit, violence and perhaps one of the most tender goodbyes in Green's canon. Fans will love it, and those interested in giving Green a try should pick it up; he gives plenty of backstory so that no new reader will feel lost.