By the estimable Mr. Mark Gatiss (who just happens to be one of my favourite comedy and Who writers).
There’s a distinct, 60’s feel to it all; something to do with the cleverly-copied Aubrey Beardsley, Yellow Book look of the thing and the outrageousness of the rather-hard-to-follow plot. If this book were a film it would look like The Wrong Box or Casino Royale (the Peter Sellers movie, not the latest, hard-core version, obviously) and Peter Cook would be playing Lucifer Box.
The comedy is definitely the high-point of the novel, unfortunately, it’s also what made it such a frequently annoying read. Whilst the deliciously clever, Wilde-ishly witty, hilarious asides are highly entertaining, they don’t half detract from the story – but since the story isn’t up to much anyway (the mind does tend to wander, I found, during all those elaborately Bond-esque cracks on Box’s life), I detached my brain from all attempts at a plot and went for enjoying the funnies and the gay-sex instead.
NB. Of special interest to m’flist: The gay-sex in particular, whilst not in any way explicit, is deliciously titillating and thoroughly Good.
Charlie Jackpot (I almost forgot to mention, every character has a ludicrous name and there are an awful lot of characters. This also makes things a little hard to follow, but you get used to it after a while and, since I was already ignoring the plot by the time it would have started to get annoying, I failed to find it as irritating as I no doubt would have, had I still been trying to follow the story – if you get my drift.
(Where was I? Oh yes, Charlie Jackpot…) is a delightful companion and it’s overwhelmingly because of him that I’ll be picking up the next book in this series.
So, well worth a read, for sure, just don’t worry too much about what’s going on because that way lies madness.
(Cross-posting this review to LJ, GoodReads and Amazon).