Review: Death Shall Come by Simon R. Green

Ishmael Jones is faced with a dead body and a missing mummy in this highly entertaining, genre-blending mystery.

Death shall come on swift wings to whoever desecrates this tomb …

Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny have been summoned to remote Cardavan House, home of the world’s largest private collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts, for the unveiling of George Cardavan’s latest acquisition: a bone fide Egyptian mummy.

When a bloodstained body is discovered beside the empty sarcophagus, Ishmael is dismissive of the theory that the mummy’s curse is to blame. Instead he sets out to uncover the human killer responsible. But how can Ishmael explain the strange, shuffling footsteps that creep along the corridors? Who is playing games with them … and why?

Death Shall Come by Simon R. Green. Book #4 of the Ishmael Jones Mystery series. Published by Severn House Publishing, 2017. Hardback edition, 185 pages.

I am a huge fan of the author Simon R. Green, but I have made it known in past reviews that I’ve had a couple of problems with his Ishmael Jones Mystery series. One of my biggest problems with the first 3 books, is that there felt like there was a lot of repetition in the plots and conversations. It left those books feeling very cookie cutter and not very original. I like Simon R. Green a lot though, and I felt like the Ishmael Jones series has a lot of potential, if Simon can just break out of that cut and paste trance he seems to be in! I didn’t want to give up on Simon or Ishmael. I may have been very wary about it, but I picked up the next book in the series, book 4, Death Shall Come.

I have always been a big fan of Ancient Egypt. Mummies, and artifacts from that time have always fascinated me. I was extremely excited about the plot revolving around an ancient Egyptian mummy and a family who has a large collection of artifacts from there. Even though this was another story in the series with a mansion out in the middle of nowhere, I was happy to see that the actual house felt very different from the past mansions. This one didn’t have the old gothic feel to it. This one felt like a modern design filled with artifacts of the dead. The newer feel of the house and the large collection / decor of ancient Egyptian items put a much needed fresh spin on the whole mansion in the middle of nowhere theme.

The killer in Death Shall Come was enjoyable and not as predictable as the killers in the past. You saw very few clues as to the identity of the killer and it felt shocking when the reveal arrived. 😮 Pretty creative as well. As an added bonus, the bad guy had some dirt on Ishmael that he was unaware of! It was fun getting another piece of the puzzle to Ishmael’s past.

Something else that felt refreshing in book 4, was the conversation between Ishmael and Penny. In the other books so far, there was way too much repeated dialogue between them. Literally almost the same exact wording. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the conversations between them were filled with cheesy flirting that left you feeling like this couple has zero chemistry. I still feel like they don’t have a lot of chemistry, but, with not a lot of flirting going on this time around, it wasn’t as noticeable. Gone were the cut and paste conversations. Thankfully, Simon finally started changing up the way Ish and Penny talk to each other. The partners were much more tolerable with fresh conversation and less flirting. I really hope Simon will continue to do this with the couple from now on. I guess I’ll find out soon in book 5! 😮

Death Shall Come is probably my favorite book in the series so far. It felt much more original and unique while Ishmael and Penny were toned down a bit. Much more enjoyable. I’m glad to see that Simon R. Green isn’t so stuck in his formulaic rut any more. I really hope that the author can keep making things fresh when keeping in that narrow market of a house in the country theme. I really think that is a big part of the problem. There are only so many ways you can have people continue to get stuck in a large house out in the middle of nowhere and there are only so many ways you can have people split up instead of staying in a safe group the whole book. Until Ishmael is allowed to branch out from there, we might keep running in to the same formulaic problems. :/ I really hope not.

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