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Authors: Simon R. Green

Ghost of a Smile

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Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for the Novels of the Nightside
A HARD DAY'S KNIGHT
 
“Plenty of action packed in from London to Glastonbury . . . should definitely please fantasy action fans.”
—Booklist
 
 
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNCANNY
 
“A fast, intelligently written tale that is fun to read.”
—The Green Man Review
 
 
JUST ANOTHER JUDGEMENT DAY
 
“Another unrestrained ride through the Nightside.”
—Monsters and Critics
 
 
THE UNNATURAL INQUIRER
 
“Sam Spade meets Sirius Black . . . in the Case of the Cosmic MacGuffin . . . crabby wit and inventively gruesome set pieces.”
—Entertainment Weekly
 
 
HELL TO PAY
 
“If you're looking for fast-paced, no-holds-barred dark urban fantasy, you need look no further: the Nightside is the place for you.”
—SFRevu
 
 
SHARPER THAN A SERPENT'S TOOTH
“A captivating tale.”
—Midwest Book Review
 
 
PATHS NOT TAKEN
 
“An entertaining adventure.”
—Chronicle
 
 
HEX AND THE CITY
 
“[Green's] style is unique, stylized, and addictive.”
—The Green Man Review
 
 
NIGHTINGALE'S LAMENT
 
“Strong horror fantasy.”
—The Best Reviews
 
 
AGENTS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS
 
“If you like your noir pitch-black, then return to the Nightside.”
—University City Review
 
 
SOMETHING FROM THE NIGHTSIDE
 
“A fast, fun little roller coaster of a story.”
—Jim Butcher
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
 
Ghost Finders Novels
GHOST OF A CHANCE
GHOST OF A SMILE
 
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
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
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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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 SMILE
 
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Ace mass-market edition / September 2011
 
Copyright © 2011 by Simon R. Green.
 
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 : 978-1-101-54363-4
 
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.
 
 
 

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Ghosts are messages. From the Past, the Present,
and sometimes the Future.
ONE
DOGGED BY THE PAST
It's a sad fact that these days, there are more places that used to be factories than there are working factories. And many of these old deserted buildings, left to rot and ruin, have become bad places. Haunted by a past they can't forget and men who can't forgive.
There are lots of ways a building can turn bad. Something terrible happens, staining the environs with enough horror and suffering to poison the psychic wells forever, or just the long years' accumulations of all the petty evils and moral crimes that man is heir to. People make places bad, and bad places make horror shows, to haunt the living with the sins of the dead. People do more than work in factories, and they always leave something of themselves behind.
Which is why a battered old mini-van, with rusting panels and balding tyres, came crashing to a halt in an overgrown and weed-infested car park, outside the factory building once owned and operated by Winter Industries. The van's engine fell silent with a series of relieved coughs, and the slow, sullen quiet of evening returned. The huge old building stood open and exposed to the elements, a stark minimalist structure of steel and concrete, looking somehow lost and ill at ease now that it no longer had a function or a purpose. Broken glass in the windows, overlapping graffiti on the walls . . . most of it faded into incoherence, like disappearing voices from the past. The huge open doors at the front had been sealed off with yards of yellow police-incident tapes, their ragged ends whipping mournfully back and forth in the gusting wind.
From out of the clapped-out old mini-van stepped JC Chance, Melody Chambers, and Happy Jack Palmer.
The Ghost Finders of the Carnacki Institute.
It was late evening, heading into night. There were bloody stains on the heavy clouds in the lowering sky, while the sun hung low above the horizon, giving up on the day. There were shadows everywhere, long and deep and dark. The evening light looked stained and damaged, bruised. The gusting wind made a few half-hearted attempts to kick some leaves around the abandoned car park but couldn't really be bothered. The factory stood still and solid, holding darkness within.
JC strode out across the car park, heading for the deserted factory like a general with a battle hymn in his heart. He was never happier than when he was throwing himself headlong into life-and-death action, with the world at stake and all to play for, best foot forward and damn the consequences. Which was why he'd had such a hard time finding partners who would put up with him. Most people had more sense. He stopped before the building and looked it over, his fists on his hips and a broad cocky grin on his face. JC loved a mystery, and a challenge, and a chance to kick the unearthly where it hurt.
JC was tall and lean, loud and confident, full of energy and far too handsome for his own good. In his late twenties, he had a rock star's mane of long dark hair, and a rich ice-cream three-piece suit of quite startling style and elegance. He also wore the heaviest, darkest sunglasses he could find, with good reason. Simply standing there in the wide-open car park, he looked like a sheriff come to clean up Tombstone.
Melody Chambers trudged across the cracked concrete, pulling a trolley heaped high with her own very special equipment. Melody was the science geek of the team, and proud of it. She used technology as a weapon to beat the supernatural into making sense. She knew everything there was to know about fringe science and paranormal activity, and what she didn't know she made up as she went along. She firmly believed in the iron hand in the iron glove approach, and only settled for poking ghosts with a stick when she didn't have a better weapon to hand.
Melody was pushing the edge of her late twenties, and pretty enough in a conventional sort of way. Short and gamine thin, she wore her auburn hair in a severe bun at the back of her head, so it wouldn't get in the way. Melody was a very practical sort, first and always. She never bothered with make-up, and wore serious, no-nonsense glasses. Her jeans, sweater, and jacket were dark, practical, and anonymous. She kept several sets in her wardrobe, all exactly the same, so she didn't have to waste time wondering what to wear. But even standing still beside her trolley, scowling impartially at JC and the factory, she blazed with repressed nervous energy waiting to be unleashed upon some poor unfortunate spirit.

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