quippe (quippe) wrote,
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quippe

The Clown Service by Guy Adams

The Blurb On The Back:

”If the Security Service is The Circus, then Section 37 is where we keep the clowns.”


Toby Greene has been reassigned.

After one screw up too many, he finds himself at a largely forgotten branch of the British Intelligence Service, working for August Shining, a Cold War relic, and charged with defending the country from paranormal terrorism.

But when an ex-Soviet-era enemy return with an insidious plan to raise the dead and destroy London, it seems Toby’s impossibly job is to save Great Britain – whether he believes it or not.




When Toby Greene fails spectacularly in a routine babysitting mission for the British security services (leaving him with both concussion and egg on his face), his aggrieved superior demotes him to Section 37. Section 37 has been run by August Shining for the last 40 years and is dedicated to tackling paranormal threats against Britain. No one takes it seriously, least of all Toby.

But when a former Soviet spy pops up intent on reactivating a Cold War program to raise the dead and destroy Britain, Toby finds himself having to learn everything that Shining can teach him because the countdown to Armageddon has started …

Guy Adams’s fantasy spy thriller combines a Le Carre cold war spy thriller with a Ben Aaronovitch attention to paranormal world-building in an entertaining romp with a nice spin on zombies. Although Toby’s a lightly sketched character, I wasn’t too worried about that given that this is the first in a series and I liked the hints of a troubled background, notably his PTSD suffered after something happened during a mission in Iraq and his burgeoning relationship with August. My favourite scenes are August’s flashbacks to the 60s and particularly his relationship with his paranormal assets (whose abilities I won’t spoil, although Cyril is probably the best), but August himself plays second fiddle to his indomitable sister, April, who moves through political circles and espionage rings like a force of nature. I also liked Tamar, August’s upstairs neighbour and self-appointed protector who has a troubled background but wish that Soviet spy, Krishnin, had been a little more rounded in terms of motivation. The plot rolls along nicely with plenty of action to keep me entertained and Adams also introduces a background arc that has promise of more complicated long-term shenanigans. All in all, it’s a fun read and I’ll definitely check out the sequel.

For me the best scenes in the books are those set in the 60s, which we see through August and Krishnin’s eyes and which are atmospheric and evocative. I liked the links back to cold war politics and the political uncertainties that exist on both sides of the Iron Curtain coupled with Krishnin’s ruthlessness in pursuing his agenda. The zombie element is also well executed, although I’d have liked a little more development on how this was intended to work in practice, given the limited time it was in operation.

The Verdict:

Guy Adams’s fantasy spy thriller combines a Le Carre cold war spy thriller with a Ben Aaronovitch attention to paranormal world-building in an entertaining romp with a nice spin on zombies. Although Toby’s a lightly sketched character, I wasn’t too worried about that given that this is the first in a series and I liked the hints of a troubled background, notably his PTSD suffered after something happened during a mission in Iraq and his burgeoning relationship with August. My favourite scenes are August’s flashbacks to the 60s and particularly his relationship with his paranormal assets (whose abilities I won’t spoil, although Cyril is probably the best), but August himself plays second fiddle to his indomitable sister, April, who moves through political circles and espionage rings like a force of nature. I also liked Tamar, August’s upstairs neighbour and self-appointed protector who has a troubled background but wish that Soviet spy, Krishnin, had been a little more rounded in terms of motivation. The plot rolls along nicely with plenty of action to keep me entertained and Adams also introduces a background arc that has promise of more complicated long-term shenanigans. All in all, it’s a fun read and I’ll definitely check out the sequel.
Tags: fantasy, guy adams, series, thriller
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