Thursday, November 7, 2013

Constable & Toop by Gareth P Jones

This ghost story begins in Victorian London.  Where else is there no lack of ghosts, murders, and mayhem in the early days?  Egypt might be older, but London had Jack the Ripper.  Are you ready to walk the dark streets of London and look for ghosts?  Then turn the first page...

Abrams sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The Ghost Bureau is disturbed to find that ghosts are disappearing.  They have a list of who is in what building but now the buildings are empty.  These were unsettled ghosts, how could they be gone?

Mr. Jones has created some weird characters.  Sam is a human who can see ghosts and talk to them.  That's a talent he hides because everyone thinks he's weird and not all there.  He's all there; he just has a skill they don't.  He works to help ghosts settle their problems so they can go on and leave the earthly world.  It doesn't take long until he sees that his help actually makes things worse for the survivors.  The unhappy ghosts aren't helping; they're getting even!

Tanner is a ghost who has pet ghost dogs.  He wants Sam to work with him, but Sam's been burned enough and says no.  The Ghost Bureau has sent their own detective and he contacted Tanner and gave him a mission.  Then he has the misfortune to be jailed, so Tanner is on his own.  When Tanner fails with Sam, Sam's Uncle Jack offers his help.  Tanner is to get the ghosts to move into the empty houses.  Jack volunteers to find the ghosts needed.  He doesn't find them, he creates them!

While all of this is going on, the Black Rot is creeping around, growing larger and eating more ghosts (for their souls).  He's getting large enough he's almost unstoppable.  He doesn't know that the dog he occupies had a good nature and doesn't play well with evil.  Mr. Jones creates a really cool ending for this story.

I found this to be a very enjoyable fantasy read.  The ghosts have enough personality to leave an impression on you and those from the ghost bureau and earth are just trying to stop a disaster.  There are humorous moments, moments of horror, and lots of tension while you wonder how this will be resolved.  Young adults will enjoy the action and find themselves caught up in the story, as will older readers.

Happy reading.

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