Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Orbit (1 May 2008)
This is, as of the time of writing, Holt's latest novel. Unlike Barking , this one is part of a sequence, being (I think) the fifth in the series started in The Portable Door, a trilogy that has now given given birth to a second generation protagonist.
Frank Carpenter is the son of Paul and Sophie from that first trilogy. His slightly insufferable parents have pissed off to another dimension, and Frank has been left with the Portable Door, a neat device which allows him to step from anywhere to anywhere, or even anywhen. Being a well brought up young man, he's come up with a truly ingenious way of making money: he has a deal with a particular insurance company to help them avoid ever paying out big by ensuring that the big disasters never actually happen. That way, he saves lots of people, the insurer pays a mere 10% of what would otherwise have been paid out, and Frank makes a very comfortable living indeed.
Well, it would be, except that for some reason, one particular candidate for resurrection, a pest controller named Emily (and she specialises in the sort of pest that tries to infest bank vaults and which has a nasty habit of breathing flame) won't stay alive. Every time he changes the circumstances of her death, she dies in a new and even more inventive way. She's the victim of a Better Mousetrap spell, one that crosses dimensions to ensure she's dead, dead, dead. Why anyone was that determined that she should die is not immediately evident. Or even who, come to that. But Frank, a shining knight (and one who has given his word in this case to do a job) gets involved.
This is another fun novel from Holt, whom I enjoy reading as a comfort read. They're not challenging books, but there's plenty enough humour and invention, and sometimes it's nice to have something set so solidly in the world I live in. So, another year, another Holt to keep me happy.