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Authors: Simon R. Green

Ghost of a Dream

BOOK: Ghost of a Dream
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Praise for the Ghost Finders novels

GHOST OF A SMILE

“Packed with creepy thrills,
Ghost of a Smile
is a mighty strong follow-up in this brand-new series. Ghost hunting has never been quite this exciting. Recommended.”


SFRevu

“[With] plenty of action and chills, this book keeps pages turning even as a feeling of dread builds. The dialogue between the three characters is snappy and humorous, as is the chemistry between them.”


NewsandSentinel.com


Ghost of a Smile
is a lovely blend of popcorn adventure and atmospheric thriller, and good for a few hours of distraction and entertainment. That’s one of the reasons why Green’s books always leap right to the top of my reading list.”


The Green Man Review

“[Green] gleefully tweaks the natural fear of experimentation (and the inscrutable motivations of the men behind it), bringing some real-world paranoia into his fantasy-laden playground. It’s a gamble that pays off nicely…With his Nightside series ending soon, the Ghost Finders books are quickly proving to be worthy replacements.”

—Sacramento Book Review

GHOST OF A CHANCE

“If future novels in Green’s new Ghost Finders series are as engaging as this one, they will hold up admirably against his previous work…Readers will appreciate the camaraderie and snappy dialogue.”


Publishers Weekly

“Terrific.”


SFRevu

“Thoroughly entertaining.”

—Jim Butcher, #1
New York Times
bestselling author of the Dresden Files

“It’s fast-paced, filled with nifty concepts and memorable characters, and quite enjoyable.”


The Green Man Review

“I’m a huge fan of Simon R. Green’s Nightside novels, and he continues to impress with
Ghost of a Chance
. He continues to put out great stories and gives readers deeply flawed characters that you still want to root for. This book is a great start to a new series that I will keep reading.”


Bitten by Books

Ghost Finders Novels

GHOST OF A CHANCE

GHOST OF A SMILE

GHOST OF A DREAM

Novels of the Nightside

SOMETHING FROM THE NIGHTSIDE

AGENTS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS

NIGHTINGALE’S LAMENT

HEX AND THE CITY

PATHS NOT TAKEN

SHARPER THAN A SERPENT’S TOOTH

HELL TO PAY

THE UNNATURAL INQUIRER

JUST ANOTHER JUDGEMENT DAY

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNCANNY

A HARD DAY’S KNIGHT

THE BRIDE WORE BLACK LEATHER

Secret Histories Novels

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TORC

DAEMONS ARE FOREVER

THE SPY WHO HAUNTED ME

FROM HELL WITH LOVE

FOR HEAVEN’S EYES ONLY

LIVE AND LET DROOD

Deathstalker Novels

DEATHSTALKER

DEATHSTALKER REBELLION

DEATHSTALKER WAR

DEATHSTALKER HONOR

DEATHSTALKER DESTINY

DEATHSTALKER LEGACY

DEATHSTALKER RETURN

DEATHSTALKER CODA

Hawk and Fisher Novels

SWORDS OF HAVEN

GUARDS OF HAVEN

Also by Simon R. Green

BLUE MOON RISING

BEYOND THE BLUE MOON

DRINKING MIDNIGHT WINE

Omnibus

A WALK ON THE NIGHTSIDE

GHOST OF A
DREAM

SIMON R. GREEN

ACE BOOKS, NEW YORK

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

GHOST OF A DREAM

An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Ace mass-market edition / September 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Simon R. Green.

Cover art by Don Sipley.

Cover design by Judith Lagerman.

Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58950-2

ACE

Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

What ghosts really are…
is unfinished business.

Table of Contents

One: One of Our Trains is Missing

Two: Last Call for The Dead

Three: Hanging About in the Lobby, Waiting for the Show to Start

Four: Stage Business

Five: Stardusty Memories

Six: Lobby Display

Seven: Offensive Clothing

Eight: In the Flesh

Nine: Old Truths, Come Home to Roost

Ten: You’ve Got to get Into the Spirit of Things

The Carnacki Institute exists to Do Something about ghosts. Track them down, identify what’s really going on, put lost souls to rest, and kick supernatural arse, where necessary. The Institute’s been around for a long time and knows pretty much all there is to know about ghosts, monsters, other-dimensional incursions…and anything else that won’t lie down and play dead like it’s supposed to.

If the Carnacki Institute had a motto it would probably be: “We don’t take any shit from the Hereafter.”

PREVIOUSLY, IN THE GHOST FINDERS

One of the Institute’s leading investigative teams consists of JC Chance (team leader and positive thinker), Melody Chambers (team scientist and girl geek), and Happy Jack Palmer (team telepath and general miserable pain in the arse). JC fell in love with a ghost girl called Kim. Love between the living and the dead is almost universally forbidden, for many good reasons. At the end of the team’s last mission, Kim was stolen away from JC by unknown forces. He doesn’t know why or if he’ll ever find her again.

The team also discovered, on their previous mission, that the long-established and much-trusted Carnacki Institute had in fact been infiltrated and compromised by the Bad Guys. Secret people in secret positions who serve something called The Flesh Undying—a terrible creature that fell, or was pushed, from a higher reality
into our world. The Flesh Undying sees this world as a prison, a trap, and is ready to destroy our whole reality in order that it might break free and go home again.

JC, Melody, and Happy are on their own. They don’t know what to do or whom they can trust. Or where to look for their missing ghost girl. So for the time being, they’re following their orders and doing their job, finding ghosts and Doing Something about them. And all the time looking…for a chance to get even.

ONE

ONE OF OUR TRAINS IS MISSING

The Past is only as dead and gone as we allow it to be. It has a tendency to cling, to hang on—like lovers who can’t bring themselves to accept it’s over. There will always be some who find the Past more comforting than the Present, people who look back on the way things used to be and make everything make sense with the benefit of hindsight. So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are always going to be people who prefer to give all their spare time, their personal time, to looking backwards instead of forward, investing all their happiness in re-creating some one special part of the Past.

Once upon a time, in the grand days of Old England, there were wonderful things called steam trains: huge steel beasts thundering across the great green countryside, connecting even the smallest of communities, one to the other. They roared like dragons, breathed fire and
smoke, and the ground shook at their passing. But time passed, as it will, and steam reluctantly gave way to electricity. Less romantic, perhaps, but undeniably faster and more efficient. And then there came an infamous man called Beeching, in that far-off time called the sixties, and he shut down all the smaller stations, all the lesser-used branch lines, in the name of progress and efficiency. Sacrificing the needs of the smaller communities and the smaller people to better serve the needs of larger communities and more important people. And so the Age of Steam passed, and no-one realised what they’d lost until it was gone. The small railway stations were abandoned, left to rot and ruin in a slow, sullen silence. Ghosts…of an old way of life.

But wherever the Past is remembered, and sometimes even worshipped, it is never really gone.

BOOK: Ghost of a Dream
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