Book Review, Fantasy, Guest Post

Book Review by Seawriter: A Fresh Take on an Old Classic

Jekyll & Hyde Inc. by [Simon R. Green]Daniel Carter is a London copper. It is today’s London, but a London inhabited by clans of underground monsters. They run criminal rackets: the Frankenstein Clan with its surgeries; the seductive Vampire Clan; the drug-dealing Clan of Mummies; and the Werewolf Clan, which serves as hit men and enforcers.

Jekyll & Hyde Inc., a fantasy novel by Simon R. Green, opens with Carter, his partner, and two fellow cops raiding a Frankenstein chop shop. Their attempt to break up the illicit den where victims are cut up for transplant organs goes badly. One is killed, two others vanish in the building’s ruins, and Carter is left crippled.

Carter is subsequently suspended from his job because the raid was, it seems, unauthorized. The commissioner who organized and “authorized” it has disappeared. Carter’s career is in ruins.  He is in constant pain, and his family has rejected him. Then his vanished partner appears. He has been absorbed into the underground, involuntarily turned into a vampire. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley, he appears to offer Carter a chance at redemption – or perhaps more accurately–revenge.

Carter is being recruited by Jekyll & Hyde, Incorporated. Mr. Hyde, the creature who consumed Dr. Jekyll’s elixir, is still alive centuries later. He escaped. He has also become fabulously wealthy and is running a monster-hunting business. By consuming some of the elixir, Carter can regain health and gain superhuman strength. Doing this entails signing up to kill monsters.

In addition to giving those who take the potion superhuman strength and endurance, it also produces incredible attractiveness and god-like charismatic power. Killing monsters is what Carter wanted to do anyway. As further enticement, he is paired with Valentina Hyde (always Tina, never Valentina), a female Hyde. A former drug addict, she has been transformed into a phenomenally powerful beauty.

Carter signs up. Hyde’s plan is more ambitious than simply fighting the clans. Carter and his new partner are being used in a campaign to destroy the clans, utterly and for all time.  Only what lies behind Mr. Hyde’s plan? What is his ultimate goal and how do the subordinate Hydes, including Carter, fit into its conclusion?

Jekyll & Hyde Inc.” is a fascinating urban fantasy. Green transforms Robert Lewis Stevenson’s classic horror novel into the launch pad for an exciting adventure. He takes readers through a romp involving multiple horror classics, updated to the twenty-first century in an amusing and entertaining read.

“Jekyll & Hyde Inc.,” by Simon R. Green, Baen, 2021, 240 pages, $25.00 (Hardcover), $9.99 (e-book)

*Mark Lardas is an engineer, freelance writer, historian and model-maker living in Texas.  Mark posts on Ricochet as “Seawriter,” and is well-known for his regular and much appreciated reviews of books on all subjects.  Of his reviews, he says “I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review.”  His website is marklardas.com.

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