The latest instalment in the Secret History series reunites us with the Drood family, and more precisely Eddie Drood, who has now joined the Department of Uncanny together with his witch girlfriend Molly Metcalf, the Wild Witch of the Woods. Called back to Drood Hall after a particular mission Eddie and Molly are called on to clear up the fall-out of certain events from the previous novel “Live and Let Drood”.
And it is thus that our favourite Drood, armed with new and improved things provided by the family armourer, yet more vulnerable than ever, throws himself headfirst into the line of danger with new and old friends and foes either by his side or trying to get him killed, to take down the Casino Infernale. And whilst investigating the matter at hand to best solve the problems he’s facing this time, will they ever discover who really caused the death of Molly’s parents all those years ago?
Casino Infernale is without doubt the best book in the series yet. Unlike some other Simon R. Green (SRG) series, I would really recommend people read Secret Histories in the right order to know exactly what’s going on as there are often references to events in past instalment. And this is especially the case with this one. So make sure you have read especially Live and Let Drood before you pick up Casino Infernale. It’s not an absolute necessity, you will be able to follow the story, but you will be left with some questions if you start out with this one.
It is well written, and very fast paced so it never gets boring. The protagonists are always up to something, and generally no good at all, which keeps it fresh. Well you know they’ll pull mischief, because they always do, but it’s great fun to read what they’ll come up with this time. And of course Mr Green keeps on surprising with a diverse cast of colourful characters to keep the reader entertained from the first word to the last. Another bonus of this book is the guest appearances from characters we’ve previously encountered in the Nightside and Ghost Finders series and I’m sure that the cross-over element will please many of the author’s fans and will make new readers want to explore the current universe he has unfolding further. That’s something I really love about SRG, the plot is always thickening and he’s dropping clues all over the universe, which entwines masterfully over three of his series (The Nightside, Ghost Finders and Secret History). You don’t need to read them all to get what’s going on, but it makes for a thoroughly grasping world if you do. And it’s great fun when you recognise a reference, be it one from his own literary world or popular culture. Because there is simply no one in today’s writing world that does pop culture references as much as Mr Green.
In conclusion, I can heartily recommend Secret History to everyone who loves James Bond style espionage, espionage full stop and supernatural novels. Because it’s definitely well worth it with every edition, and they keep on getting better by the book.