Dinner at an ancient Cornish inn leads to one baffling disappearance after another in the latest intriguing Ishmael Jones mystery.
“It’s just a nice weekend, in a nice country inn. Nothing bad is going to happen …”
Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are attending the re-opening of Tyrone’s Castle, an ancient Cornish inn originally built by smugglers. Over dinner that night, the guests entertain one another with ghost stories inspired by local legends and superstitions. But it would appear that the curse of Tyrone’s Castle has struck for real when one of their number disappears into thin air. And then another . . .
Is the inn really subject to an ancient curse? Sceptical of ghost stories, Ishmael believes the key to the mystery lies in the present rather than the past. But with no bodies, no evidence and no clues to go on, how can he prove it?
Into the Thinnest Air by Simon R. Green. The 5th Ishmael Jones Mystery book in the series. Published by Severn House Publishers, 2017. Hardback copy, 167 pages.
So, once again… I will start another Ishmael Jones book review with how much I like Simon R. Green. I really, really like this author. I have liked him since the early 2000s when the Nightside series began. I fell in love with his universe and characters. So unique! So alive! So creative! When his Ghostfinders series began, I was hooked! It wasn’t as good as the Nightside series, but it was still a lot of fun, with creative situations and fun characters. Again, I really, really like this author. BUT. I have really struggled with the Ishmael Jones series. I don’t know what is going on with Simon, but this series is nowhere close to what he is capable of writing. For some reason, it feels like he is shooting for “Good enough!” and falls a little short of that. With the 4 previous books in the series, plot and banter have felt uber repetitive. He rarely deviates from a very basic formula for an outline. Most of the characters are unlikable, especial Penny, and Ishmael rides that line hard. The mystery, as well as the murderers, have been astonishingly predictable. I absolutely HATE saying these things about Simon, and I don’t want to say them! But this series… *shrug* I don’t know what is going on with it. It almost feels like it’s not even the same author.
If you thought Into the Thinnest Air was going to break the terrible mold that this series is stuck in, you would be mistaken. In fact, this story felt very…. simple. D: I have mad respect for all authors, and I hate to assume an author isn’t trying very hard, but…. *waves arms around* It’s just… I KNOW Green is better then this book!
I love that Simon went with a locked room mystery this time around, but 80% of the book felt like all the characters just sat at the dinning table talking about what was going on over and over and OVER again. How many times do we have to sit around and say the same exact damn thing?? It felt like most of the book was filler! Practically the only action is from Ishmael tearing apart the kitchen and a tiny bit of action at the very end.
Possibly the biggest problem with this book is Ishmael himself. Ok, see, you can’t spend 4 books telling us how amazaballs Ishmael’s abilities are ALL THE FUCKING TIME only to have him be a super fail whale now. It’s not just that he was a fail whale, because, yeah, not every day is your best, BUT, the way he was fail whale is the problem. It’s like all of a sudden he isn’t as strong as he was before. Like he for some reason doesn’t have the same level of abilities as he did in the past. I’m sorry, but no. NO. In the previous books, Simon wrote Ishmael to have the most amazing sense of smell, sight, and hearing EVER. He could hear through walls from down a hallway or from upstairs. He could break down every smell in the room, even days after the scent had passed through that room. So, I’m sorry, but it’s not believable that someone with this level of phenomenal ability can’t tell what is going on because the food smells are too strong. Or that he didn’t hear the killer snatching people from behind his back because he wasn’t listening for it. Or that he somehow, this time, can’t find a hidden passageway when his eye sight is SO FANTASTIC in the other books that he can spot of hidey hole from across a large dark room. All of that…. isn’t the only problem with Ishmael this time. He is super awesome at using logic to figure stuff out but somehow, in this book, he can’t seem to figure anything out. Really? It was pretty obvious from the moment the first victim was kidnapped, yet some how Mr. Jones can’t work this one out? REALLY?? Not even going to try with a theory?? ALSO, in all the previous books, Ishmael is ultra paranoid and suspicious, but now… for some reason he isn’t?? Like, he didn’t find the bad guy suspicious at ALL?? They weren’t THAT good of actors, Ish… He just rolls with all this odd shit when in the other books he would have made a huge deal about how he doesn’t trust anyone or anything and he is suspicious of everyone in the entire house. So…. THIS DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!!! 😡 I’m sorry, but you can’t just switch up how a character acts without some sort of catalyst for WHY the character has changed. It’s called CONTINUITY!! Oh, and now for some reason Ishmael doesn’t heal as fast as he did in the first book? Ooookay. If Green wanted to have realistic flaws like this he shouldn’t have made Ishmael so perfect with his abilities in the first 4 books.
I will say that I liked the method of killing in this book. It was a creative weapon that you don’t see that often anymore. Although, I gotta say it again… How Ishmael didn’t hear / smell / see it sooner just doesn’t work.
I think this book would have been better if it had been a standalone and not part of a series. In fact, it looks like a lot of the people who loved it didn’t know it was part of a series and this was their first encounter with Ishmael. I HATE saying this, but it felt like the author wasn’t even trying with the plot or the main character this time around. D: I really hope the next book is better, because, yes, I’m going to keep reading this series. -.-