The Dark Side of the Road

Ishmael Jones Mystery Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ishmael Jones is someone who can't afford to be noticed, someone who lives under the radar, who drives on the dark side of the road. He's employed to search out secrets, investigate mysteries and shine a light in dark places. Sometimes he kills people.

Invited by his employer, the enigmatic Colonel, to join him and his family for Christmas, Ishmael arrives at the grand but isolated Belcourt Manor in the midst of a blizzard to find that the Colonel has mysteriously disappeared. As he questions his fellow guests, Ishmael concludes that at least one of them - not least Ishmael himself - is harboring a dangerous secret, and that beneath the veneer of festive cheer lurk passion, jealousy, resentment and betrayal.

As a storm sets in, sealing off the Manor from the rest of the world, Ishmael must unmask a ruthless murderer before they strike again.

©2015 Simon R. Green (P)2018 Tantor
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Turned into a slasher horror novel

I thought this book was going to be a typical British murder mystery, but it turned out shockingly gory and violent and very much full of fantasy creatures. I actually felt ill in a few parts of the book. I thought the “hero” wasn’t very heroic and allowed almost everyone to die when he could have saved them. It’s sad, because I wanted to like him. The writing was pretty good though, and the narration was excellent. The vampire voice of the undead sent a chill through me. Great performance. I finished the book; for some reason I was grossed out but couldn’t stop. And I’m oddly curious about the next book in the series, but also kind of afraid to tackle it...

13 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Definitely NOT up to Tales from Nightside

You will recognize Green's writing style. It's distinctive and it was great to revisit it.

What wasn't so great? This slow, plodding, trope filled story.

If you are seeking a book with action - this isn't it.

If you are seeking a story with strong character and/or world building - you got it, this isn't it.

If you are looking for a lot of dialogue with not a lot of "movement" to the story - a la Agatha Christie with a supernatural twist...then you've found it.

I won't be reading/listening to another book in this series.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed it, but...

I loved the murder mystery setting with a supernatural/scifi twist concept. The flow was really good and it was easy to follow.

My only issue with the book is that the main character ends up being less helpful than I would've thought based how much I was told he is some kind of super duper agent-or-whatever. The book spent so much time telling me how awesome he is but most of his abilities weren't put to any use. He could've just as well been a normal dude. While the setting is very that traditional mansion murder mystery thing, don't go into it expecting a Sherlock Holmes style detective story.

So while I was really enjoying the listen, the ending was a little bit of a let down given the premise. That said, I was into it from the beginning to the end.

P.S. I think I've listened to 5 of Simon R. Green's books and it seems like his thing is to tell the story from the main character's perspective and have him constantly remind the reader how amazing he is.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not the same appeal as the Nightside

I could not stay focused on the book. The pace of the story & the narration were slow to me. Bumping the speed up to 1.25 speed helped.

I was t able to build a lot of interest in the main character. Maybe he’s too methodical and too untrusting? Overall the story felt too dark and depressing for me, but dark is in the title.

As much as I like the nightside series, I wouldn’t follow this if it becomes a series. There were some horror aspects In the night side series, they were pieces that I didn’t care for. There’s more of that kind of stuff in this book, making it even less appealing to me.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A refreshing story.

Delighted I found this series. Clever story that weaves in satisfying and unexpected twists.
This author has loads of experience under his typewriter and it shows.
Story flows easily and Ishmael (s) is solid and consistent.
I found this series by searching for works narrated by Gildart Jackson.
He is, again, flawless in his reading.
Well worth the Credit.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a monster and an alien spend Christmas with family

I did very much enjoy this book. The narration complimented the story. Its a very twisted tale and looking forward to the next one.
It is centered around a family Christmas in a posh manor house and like many gatherings unexpected things can be said and done. Then add a once in the century snow storm trapping everyone in and unable to leave. A little like Agatha Cristie and Bram Stoker colaberated on a story only with an alien human secret agent as the hero.


1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Woefully Underrated

This series is by no means perfect, but as I occasionally enjoy lighter fare while performing other activities, it serves the purpose of entertaining and bringing joy to my brain. Green isn't reinventing the wheel. He's relying on long established tropes. But, as I happen to adore Clue (film) and Sherlock Holmes, I don't mind this at all. I find this series to be far better than Dresden or The Iron Druid Chronicles (to which Green's many books seem to draw constant comparison) where the obvious perfections of the main character distract me from the plot. This isn't to say that Jones isn't egotistical, it just suits him better. He's also very flawed.

I binged the first book in one evening, and the second and third books over four evenings and am sad there are no more on Audible as of this writing. But, I've moved on to another of Green's series (Secret Histories) and am enjoying that too. I've described this to friends as, "The Scooby-Doo of adult paranormal mystery." If that's something you think you might enjoy, absolutely listen to this. Gildart Jackson does a tremendous job narrating.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great new (to me) series

I bought the 2nd book in this series and immediately after listening to it I used 2 more credits to get this and the 3rd ones. I love all of the characters, the dialogue is believable, the plot and story expertly written and performed, and with some lovely dry wit. I think I'll listen to the others, in sequence, again.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ishmale Jones is the new P.I. from Simon Green

It was a delight when I discovered another series by Simon Green. The protagonist in this story is Ishmale Jones. Ishmale is refreshing after being on a long hiatus from John Taylor and the Night Side. He is reminiscent of Taylor. Like Taylor Ishmale is a P.I., he is more than he appears to be, he has a sense of humor and manner of speaking similar to John’s. This story has a basic Agatha Christie format. A murder is committed while all the suspects are locked in together. No one could have gotten out or come into the mansion to commit the murder and no one is able to leave.

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Poirot and Marlow Meet Count Dracula.

Plot is highly derivative; characters one dimensional and the whole thing tedious in the extreme. Do NOT buy this book!!


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  • Wren
  • 01-21-20

Good narrator but God awful book.

The main character comes across as the authors dreary wish fillfillment dream of being, smarter than everyone, ageless, good looking "spy hero" and irresistible to the ladies. I guess the quirk of the story is meant to be that he's duh duh duh! An alien 😐. It both emarrasing and tediously unimaginative to sit though.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 05-31-19

well narrated but a bit slow for me

I liked the narrator but the story was a bit slow overall for me. not as good as other Simon R Green books.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven paxton
  • 02-07-19

great book

loved it. More of Simon r green great strange look on the world of monster.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 05-17-20

Series has potential but this one let me down.

I did like the atmosphere and the idea, had me really hooked until the middle.
Was let down after that and the ending felt like a cop-out.
The parts that i found most intriguing are actually more of a salad dressing and not really part of the story.
Will try the second one and see but if it's like this i'll give it up.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-17-20

not a favouritest ever, but entertaining

I got here via the Hawk & Fisher novels, and like detective stories. Unexpected. Descriptions a bit revelling in the gore.