Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Published: July 17, 2008
Back cover blurb:
ONE IN EVERY THREE PEOPLE LIVING IS ACTUALLY DEAD!
It is a matter of historical record that during the latter part of World War II, England’s top-secret Ministry of Serendipity enlisted the services of arch-magician Aleister Crowley to create a Homunculus. Why? Well that’s a long story, spanning almost seven decades as it follows the life and career of Tyler, rock star, private eye – and notable for the fact that he almost saved Mankind. The cast of millions also includes ukulele maestro George Formby, Mick Jagger, Mama Cass, Elvis Presley and Lazlo Woodbine. And Tyler’s brother, Andy, who impersonates animals (and who single-handedly brought about the Swinging Sixties). And a lady named Clara from Croydon, who unlocked the meta-phenomena of the Multiverse. And a corner shopkeeper from Brentford, who created a sitting room for God. And a great many living dead. Oh yes, and it also involves a monster in human form whose intention it is to turn the Earth into a Necrosphere, a planet totally devoid of life…
Sorry, Mr Rankin, but I really struggled to finish this one. I’ve been reading Rankin for 20 years, but this… I dunno. I loved his early stuff so much and am saddened when a mojo is lost.
Maybe there was too much self-reference. They were all there, Rankin’s usual suspects – hard-boiled private eye Lazlo Woodbine and Fangio the barman, Elvis, Dimac, the Ministry of Serendipity, unpopular vegetables, the woman in the straw hat – because it’s a tradition, or an old charter, or something, but still I wasn’t gripped. Tyler only became interesting to me about 200 pages in when he encountered Laz, but if it wasn’t for the fact I’m not a quitter I wouldn’t have read that far.
The next Rankin is sitting by my bedside but I think I’ll wait a while before tackling it.
My rating: 2/5