Sunday, 16 December 2012

Review: Reggiecide

Reggiecide by Chris Dolley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before I buy a Kindle book, I usually read the whole sample. Then, if I'm in any doubt, I go to the Kindle Store, remind myself of the price, and maybe read some reviews. I very rarely use the "Buy this book now" option before I've finished the sample.

For this book, I made an exception, because of this sentence:

"Reeves had done it again! The man must bathe in fish oil. His brain was positively turbot-charged."

If you're the right audience for this book, I don't have to explain that.

As with the previous book, Dolley's Wodehouse voice is almost (but not quite) pitch-perfect. His problem is that his model, Bertie Wooster, never does anything remotely important in the greater scheme of things, whereas his character Reggie Worcester is exactly the same kind of idiot but is trying to prevent a reanimated Guy Fawkes from blowing up Parliament. Inevitably, there must be scenes for which he has no model, and they sound very slightly off.

Both as Wodehouse pastiche and as steampunk adventure, it still works. The ending perhaps worked less well than the beginning. Again, Reggie is an idiot and Reeves is a genius, and there's the inevitable temptation to have Reeves do all the work of resolving the situation, partly offstage - a temptation to which Dolley yields. The problem with that is that Reggie is the viewpoint character, so he needs to be the protagonist, not just an observer of Reeves, if the story is to be fully satisfying.

Like most short books, this one could also stand to be longer. I enjoyed it, though, and I'm looking forward to more.

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