Tuesday, 7 June 2011

‘Lenore: Cooties’ – Roman Dirge (Titan Books)

I know I bang on about this every now and then but one of the reasons I feel so privileged to be running this blog is that it gives me the chance to check out books that I wouldn’t even normally dream of picking up. For someone like me, who’s in a book more often than not, that’s just pure heaven :o) Of course it doesn’t work out all the time but that’s half the fun of it really, you never know quite how it’s going to turn out until you get going. When it does work out though… long-term readers of the blog will know that I’ve discovered some absolute gems that will stay in my head for a long time to come. These days it’s taking me a while to get round to everything in the reading pile but there is still treasure hidden in its midst. I didn’t think I’d ever say this but ‘Cooties’ is pure gold.

So there’s this little ten-year-old girl called Lenore who has been dead a long time now. It hasn’t stopped her returning to the world of the living though, enraging the lord of HECK enough to send a horde of Nazi zombies to bring her back (that’s if her stalker doesn’t wear her down first…) Lenore isn’t without allies though and if that wasn’t enough, she has a neat habit of being distracted at just the right moment…

‘Cooties’ is the kind of book where the main character is so gooey and sweet that you have to remind yourself that you’re a guy and maybe you should be doing ‘man things’ like mowing the lawn or fixing a tile on the roof. Every time you find yourself starting to think these thoughts though Roman Dirge steps in and twists things ever so slightly so that you’re suddenly reading about Nazi zombies taking a lone vampire in a bloodbath the likes of which I haven’t seen since… well, I haven’t. You literally have no idea what’s going to happen next (a Spam Witch?) and that’s what kept me turning those pages.

I’m really glad I kept reading as ‘Cooties’ is also one of those books that will have you giggling like a fool just when you least expect it. I’m not just talking about Lenore’s tale either although she is funny enough to carry the whole thing by herself. I love the way that she’ll bring everything to a complete halt just because something has randomly caught her eye or she’s misunderstood what Ragamuffin (a vampire cuddly toy) has just said.
This would be more than enough on its own but we’re lucky enough to get random outtakes from Roman’s life as well, all the funnier and surreal for being true (I think, I don’t care, they were funny…)

I’ve never read any of Roman Dirge’s other work but the guy writes with the air of someone totally on top of his game and showing no signs of loosing his grip. If that wasn’t enough, he can draw as well. The land of Nevermore is a gloriously muted backdrop to the outright weirdness that plays out, very dreamlike which I guess was the target being aimed for.

There aren’t many books where I finish and then go back to the start and get going again, ‘Cooties’ joins that select band. A book that makes me laugh so readily, and freely, has a place on my bookshelf for as long as it wants to be there.

Ten out of Ten


Carmen Wing said...

Yay! I haven't read Cooties but I've read and loved Wedgies. Mr Gosh just makes me chuckle so much. Agree with absolutely everything you've said here *g* Just love Lenore and her world.

Graeme Flory said...

I really want to read more of this stuff. There wasn't a single moment where Lenore didn't make me grin at the very least :o)