Well, I guess that's what happens if you p*$$ off Granny Weatherwax (however unintentionally) and make her take to a cave in the Lancrastian mountains ... next thing you know, you have vampires moving into the castle, and into the kingdom as such. And since they were foolishly invited in to begin with, they're near impossible to get rid of again; and let's face it, Nanny Ogg, Magrat and Agnes between them might be witches; they might even meet the requirements of a proper coven now that Magrat is a mother, but they aren't Granny, not even with all their forces combined. (Perdita, now ...)
So all of Lancre and the reader have to jointly suffer for well over half a book before Granny decides she's let things go on for long enough and finally makes an appearance. And of course she ultimately saves the day, even if only by the skin of her neck and with the assistance of inner voices, a few drops of blood, the general and specific allure of tea, and a meak priest discovering his inner Brutha just in time. (Of course it also comes in handy that somebody thought of bringing a double-edged axe, and that some vampires of the older generation still have a sense of tradition left.)
Nice going, at any rate, on the debunking of what "everybody knows who knows anything about vampires" (including the vampires themselves, who however just don't learn ... or didn't until this new breed came around, that is), and big grins all around for the co-starring Wee Free Men. My favorite moment, however, came courtesy of Greebo -- who by the way also has decidedly too little stage time -- with the incidental appearance of an otherwise entirely negligable vampire named Vargo:
"As the eye of narrative drew back from the coffin on its stand, two things happened. One happened comparatively slowly, and this was Vargo's realization that he never recalled the coffin having a pillow before.
The other was Greebo deciding that he was as mad as hell and wasn't going to take it any more. He'd been shaken around in the wheely thing, and then sat on by Nanny, and he was angry about that because he knew, in a dim, animal way, that scratching Nanny might be the single most stupid thing he could do in the whole world, since no one else was prepared to feed him. This hadn't helped his temper.
Then he'd encountered a dog, which had triled to lick him. He'd scratched and bitten it a few times, but this had had no effect apart from encouraging it to try to be more friendly.
He'd finally found a comfy resting place and had curled up into a ball, and now someone was using him as a cushion --
There wasn't a great deal of noise. The coffin rocked a few times, and then pivoted around.
Greebo sheathed his claws and went back to sleep."
(I think someone else included this in their review recently, too, but it's just too good not to do it again -- all the more since Greebo, overall, really is as woefully long absent as Granny in this one.)
Read for Square 1 of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Calan Gaeaf: "Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft."
* "Don't mess with Granny and Greebo." Or somewhat more literally: "Nobody messes with Granny and Greebo unpunished."
Mark my words readers, Jeff Johnson is an author to watch! I haven't yet read anything from him that I haven't enjoyed, and as such he's one of my go-to authors.
In DEADBOMB BINGO RAY, we have a tall, handsome "fixer" who earned his nickname during an unfortunate incident at a casino. He earned his reputation the hard way and everyone knows who he is and stays clear.
That is, until he finds himself on the radar of one Tim Cantwell, a man he's already taken down once. Unfortunately, Cantwell did not learn his lesson the first time around and now he's looking for revenge. Throw in the beautiful Mary Chapman, a black man named Skuggy, DBR's secretary Agnes, her son Cody, and the new love of his life, Abigail, and you have a memorable cast of characters. Will Cantwell be successful in his bid for revenge? You'll have to read this to find out!
I need to get one thing straight with you-DEADBOMB BINGO RAY is NOT a hero. He is not a good guy. What he is is a thinker-capable of masterminding schemes and plans that make Lex Luthor look like a drooling idiot recently escaped from the asylum. Oh, and he sometimes kills people.
What makes this story so entertaining is the characters. Even though DBR isn't a good guy, you cannot help but admire the style with which he goes about his nefarious deeds. His home sounds beautiful, he rescued a Pomeranian, and, (like most of Johnson's main characters), he cooks. His secretary Agnes hates Woody Allen so much,(because of the situation with his step-daughter), she tells everyone she meets that she's going to kill him. She also loves dogs. Ray's friend and sometime assistant, Skuggy, is an hilarious mystery of a man with long fingernails and colorful language, who likes Newports. All of these characters are so vividly drawn and real, they seem to come to life with little to no effort on the part of Johnson. He makes it look easy.
There is plenty of material here that will offend people; as previously stated DBR is not a good guy. People die. Some animals die. That's part of the gritty reality of this neo-noir world and that's who these people are. At least when they are committing crimes, they do it stylishly.
One more thing I want to mention is the inclusion of song titles/bands throughout the novel, many of which I weren't familiar with. I did not listen to all of them, but when I had the opportunity and the means to do so, I did. I felt like these songs helped to set the mood of what was coming next and I also thought it helped to achieve an almost movie-like experience while reading.
These are all the reasons I said at the start that Jeff Johnson is an author to watch. Every book I've read from him so far is totally different from the rest, but they all have one thing in common and that is STYLE. I like it and hopefully you will too!
You can get a copy here: Deadbomb Bingo Ray
*I received an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss and Turner Publications in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *
This is one of my left-over Halloween Bingo books; I'm reading it for the Calan Gaeaf part of square 1 of the "16 Tasks of the Festive Season".
I started this book last night because I urgently needed a comfort read after Val McDermid's disappointing Forensics. So far, it's not really doing the job, however ... too little Granny Weatherwax! (And decidedly also too little Greebo, for that matter.) I trust Granny will return in time for the grand finale, but man ... a Discworld Witches book where she scarcely even shows her face during almost the entire first half of the book? What was Pratchett doing, trying to demonstrate what an essential part of the Witches subseries Granny is? Thank you, I already knew that without having it jammed into my face sledgehammer-style!
First Bingo Calls:
15. Linda Hilton
16. Murder by Death
19. Tea, Rain, Book
20. JL's Bibliomania
21. Rane Aria
29. Cody's Bookshelf
Second Bingo Calls:
7. Linda Hilton
15. Tea, Rain, Book
17. Rane Aria
20. Cody's Bookshelf
22. JL's Bibliomania
Third Bingo Calls:
14. Tea, Rain, Book
17. Rane Aria
19. Cody's Bookshelf
20. JL's Bibliomania
Blackout Bingo Calls:
6. Rane Aria
10. Linda Hilton
11. Ani's Book Abyss
13. Moonlight Reader