Today I have a pre-order book for you called Demon’s Reach, it’s the fifth book in the Mister Jones Mysteries, by my friend Will Macmillan Jones. These are awesome books and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
All families have secrets or skeletons in the cupboard, hidden away from view. Most of those secrets are better left undisturbed, for very good reasons. When Mister Jones agrees to deal with the Estate of a recently deceased cousin, he finds that the secrets hidden by his family are very dark indeed, and that the skeletons in this cupboard are very real – and not yet entirely dead.
Drawn once more by Fate into a world where magic and myth are all too real and danger lurks at every turn, Mister Jones confronts a past that seeks again to become the present, and to plunge his future into a rising Darkness.
Can he escape the Demon’s Reach?
The Jones books start off mildly. Mr. Jones visits his childhood home, or a neighbor buys a cursed antique thingy, or, as here, Mr. Jones goes on holiday to a remote cottage with a neighbor who wants some quiet company while she finishes writing a book. Then, some things go bump in the night, maybe there’s a ghostly apparition, maybe the lights keep going off. But, once we’ve laid the classic groundwork, anything can happen. NO SPOILERS, BECAUSE I’M EXAGGERATING, but you might get aliens, demons, ancient gods, sea creatures, or any variation on some of the eldritch things that writers like Lovecraft would pull out of the Elder Days.
Now, anybody can write books like that. I just started one a paragraph ago. But, Will Jones brings a fair hand to the table. His Mr. Jones is both solid and respectable, and steady under duress, but also open minded to the unknown. How many mildly bemused but doughty middle aged men do you find as heroes in these sorts of books? Supporting characters, here the neighbor Sheila and later the investigator Eric, have some spunk. The scenes are always nicely set – here we’re on the Welsh Coastal Path in a holiday cottage next to an abandoned creepy farm under the shadow of an ancient even creepier hill fort. This would be fun if all Jones did was walkabout at night on the Path in the fog looking for apparitions, (which, by the way, he does a lot). Heck, even listening to ghost stories in the local pub was fun.
It’s usually about half way in that the author pulls out all the stops and goes epic. AGAIN, NO SPOILERS, but in this book the plot just keeps spinning out, (remember the ancient fort/barrow), until, as the book blurb says, Mr. Jones confronts an ancient evil intent on wreaking devastation, one bemused middle aged hero at a time.
Will Jones alternates chapters between his hero’s first person account and a more traditional third person narrative. Instead of being annoying this makes the hero’s travails more personal and immediate, and helps to sell the more outrageous aspects of the story. When you combine this with a generally unsettling atmosphere, a vaguely uneasy nod to Welsh legend and pre-history, derelict buildings, a remote location, and a cliff above a raging sea, well, that’s a fine recipe for ghosty fun. Even when it’s a bit over the top, and this book is unabashedly over the top, it’s a ripping yarn.