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Reviewed by James Bacon
Funny man Robert Rankin does it again with running gags and humour and tall tales using urban legends and myths to create a laugh out read. With a Free CD too, mad stuff.
That’s what you expect to hear, isn’t it? when you read a Rankin review, be honest.
The first thing I'd like to say about "The Witches of Chiswick" is that the writing style feels like a hark back to the classic Rankin books, I meant those of the Brentford Trilogy (now in 5 parts) & the Armageddon trilogy (still only in 3 parts). That is not to say the plots are re-hashed or that Rankin is riding on past glories, because that in certainly not that case. It's just that this new novel has a creative spark which was so apparent in those earlier works. It could almost be viewed as a follow up to "The Suburban Book of the Dead" whilst by no means being a direct sequel.
Eddie Bear is a bear with problems. He has a head full of sawdust, no opposable thumbs and buttons for eyes. That, though, is just the beginning of his woe, because he’s also been dealt the lead roll as private detective in a richly embroiled plot to best the fiend behind Toy City's first ever serial-murders after his detective owner, Bill Winkie, mysteriously vanishes. To aid him in his epic quest Eddie enlists upon the help of Jack, an unlikely a hero as any, who has stumbled into Toy City, formerly known as Toy Town, seeking out his fortune.
Punning title aside, Rankin's latest novel has no connection with the Gaston Leroux's Parisian classic. However, it is one of his better ones, and a thankful return to form after the rather aimless and disappointing Web Site Story.
The world is changing every day and technology is moving even faster. Except for a London borough known as Brentford. The Year is 2022 and Jim Pooley and John Omally have fallen into the realms of the great myths and legends of yore. Such as the Brentford Griffin of course. So don't expect them to be in this book, because they are not. But just when you think that you can't have a Brentford book without them. Mr Robert Rankin does the spectacular and brings forth a tale of computer madness all bound up in the title Web Site Story.
The fourth in the now legendary Brentford Trilogy. And why not. Many authors have had trilogies that go over three books, Douglas Adams for one.
The third of the highly successful Brentford trilogy once more sees Robert Rankin’s anti-hero’s Pooley and Omally strutting their stuff to save the London Borough from ultimate disaster.
Would you believe a diabolical plan to bar code every living person is going down. Not that this worry’s our Mr Pooley. Oh no. He has worked out from these revolutionary bar codes how to win his fortune on the horses. And of course his old friend and confidante John Omally will be their along side him to help spend it.
The Second adventure in the Brentford Trilogy is an extremely addictive read. Not only for the quality of the story, but for the sheer absurdity of the mind of the author. Take a normal object like a golf club, a golf ball and add them to an allotment complete with sheds and water butts and a host of vegetables and you get to she Rankins genius at work. Pooley and Omally have been banned from every corporation golf course, so they result to using the local allotments for their ball whacking fun.
Everything has to start somewhere. History has things starting all over the place. And it’s with no surprise that Robert Rankins Brentford Trilogy starts with the first novel The Antipope.
First Published in 1981 by Pan Books, Rankin takes you into a new genre in novel writing. The Tall Story. Although his books will always be found in the Sci-fi section of any book shop, you can’t really pin Rankin’s style down to that area of fiction. Although he writes about space ships and time travel from time to time, that is pretty much as scientific as it gets.