The Dark Side of the Road (2015) by Simon R. Green was recommended by a longtime, dear friend for our college friends book group, and I’m glad that we picked it. It’s an interesting blend of a locked-room mystery with both science fiction and supernatural elements, and I couldn’t put it down.
Ishmael Jones works in Great Britain for a mysterious organization, with the mysterious Colonel giving him each assignment. Ishmael isn’t sure what’s up when the Colonel asks Ishmael to join him and his family at their manor house for Christmas, during a blizzard. He knows it’s probably something strange, because he and the Colonel never really socialized, but have worked together for a very long time.
When Ishmael finally gets there, he finds the Colonel’s aging father, current wife and daughter, ex-wife, and employees and hangers-on who have gathered. No one knows where the Colonel has gone, and, since Ishmael knows no one, anyone could be up to no good and is not to be trusted.
But Ishmael has his own secrets, some of which will come back to haunt him. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, although I did have a good idea of who the culprit was. I didn’t know what they were, though, so that was a good surprise.
The Dark Side of the Road was pleasantly mostly free from explicit anti-fatness, although there was some acknowledgement of some characters’ “youthful,” “dancer’s,” or “nice” bodies–those bodies weren’t described with any particular characteristic, so the reader could make their own inference as to what the author meant. These descriptions were very limited, as well, so I would consider it overall weight neutral.
There are currently ten books in the series, the last of which was published in 2022, if you want a series to keep you busy for a while.