Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Book with no Name – review

Author: Anonymous

First Published: 2007(UK)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “Whatever you do, don’t read the book with no name.

“An untitled book by an anonymous author brings death to anyone who reads it.

“‘The Eye of the Moon’ – a mysterious blue stone – has gone missing.

“And in Santa Mondega, all hell is about to break loose. Literally.

“Sanchez the bartender, El Santino the crime boss, several bounty hunters and a hitman dressed as Elvis, two hard-as-nails monks, a detective from the Department of Supernatural Investigations, a retired cop who can’t let go, a bare-knuckle fighter on a chopped Harley, and a whole bunch of low-lifes are going to meet on the violent streets of Santa Mondega. A total eclipse will soon cast the town into darkness, and its going to get bloody. Because let’s not forget the Bourbon Kid…

“Tarantino meets the Da Vinci Code in this originally self-published internet sensation. Remember: everyone who reads the book with no name is murdered. The only way to find out why is to read it yourself…”

Review: How can you argue with the self publicity of a blurb like that, a book with no name, by an anonymous author about a book with no name by an anonymous author, which kills anyone who reads it. To be honest, I had no idea that this involved vampires when I bought the book, it just sounded fun.

To be honest again, it doesn’t really involve vampires, not until the end, though the threat of them is always there. The Eye of the Moon has been stolen and in the unknown city of Santa Mondega that might be a problem. Santa Mondega is a place that the world’s Governments pretend doesn’t exist. The US Government has sent Miles Jensen there, as happens every so often, to verify the reason the world’s Governments pretend it doesn’t exist – because it is a haven for the undead.

Santa Mondega also, freakishly, has a total solar eclipse every five years. The mystic stone, the Eye of the Moon, is said to not only be able to prevent its owner from dying but it can control the moon. In other words, if a vampire had it at the time of an eclipse, he or she could plunge Santa Mondega into an endless eclipse.

From that basic premise we have something that combines Tarantino, as the blurb suggests, as there is a level of comic ultra-violence to the novel. However, to me the blurb should have avoided similes with the Da Vinci Code and, instead, drawn them with the work of Robert Rankin – for this is a tall tale much like those created by the master of tall tales.

The only real problem is that there isn’t a hook character, there are a wide range of characters through the book but none hold you like, say, Jim Pooley and John O’Malley from Rankin’s Brentford Cycle.

Not that this makes the book unreadable, far from it, but it lacks a hook it might have had that keeps the readers interest. The characters are ultimately expendable – except for the Bourbon Kid, who is an enigma wrapped in a mystery – and many of them are expended as the tale develops. Thus we lack a character to cheer.

That said, a good read and one of the finest twists to the lore surrounding the cross – that I can’t reveal as it is too much of a spoiler. 6 out of 10.

There is a homepage here.

No comments: