“The Prodigal Vampire” by M. J. Todd

This novel is a perfect example of a very specific cultural phenomenon: British off-the-wall completely ridiculous humour. It involves a dead vampire who somehow escapes from the netherworld and returns to his old hometown somewhere in England intending to live there. But there is a whole town full of eccentrics whose lives get in his way. Meanwhile, the devil, who has decided to name himself Steve, is perpetrating a nefarious plot to get God to call himself BondJamesBond, or maybe GodJustGod. At the same time, a squirrel with multiple personality disorder has wandered into hell and is causing mayhem.

You get the idea.

This is a subgenre of Fantasy championed by the late and greatly lamented Terry Pratchett, and while it’s not quite up to his standard (his world is a flat disk riding on four elephants standing on the back of a great turtle who swims through the void) but it’s darn good entertainment. The density of idiocies per paragraph is high, with a few honest-to-goodness out-loud chuckles per page. The anonymous joggers were favourites of mine, and yes, you do find out who they are at the very end. Sort of.

The problem with humorous writing is that jokes break the tension, and a large amount of humour needs more suspense to balance it out. The characters in this story are fascinating and wacky, but we need a few people who we care enough about to be concerned when the action is going against them, and important enough stakes to make the game more exciting.

A fun read recommended for fans of Monty Python and similar tomfoolery.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

 

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