Sunday, 11 January 2015

Comedians vs Horror Writer - 2 reviews in 1

Two books up for review here. The first is Dead Funny, a collection of horror stories by comedians, edited by Robin Ince and Johnny Mains, of which I was sent a review copy. The second is The Adventures of Dalton Quayle by Paul Kane (a book I purchased for myself).

The reason I am reviewing both books together is simple - one is horror stories by comedians, the other is comedy by a horror writer. I was curious to how they would compare against each other and who would do best in the others genre.

So, first up Dead Funny. As soon as I heard of this collection I knew it would appeal to me so getting a review copy was a bonus really. There are 16 stories in this set, by comedians you will have heard of and some you may not, names like Rufus Hound, Al Murray, Phil Jupitus, Sara Pascoe, Katy Brand and Reece Shearsmith. As a collection there are some very dark tales here especially the opener 'Dog' by Reece Shearsmith, which I found quite unsettling. I guess I knew from there this was going to be a good read. Al Murray's 'For Everyone's Good' was also a stand out for me

Not every story is great but I didn't find any that didn't really belong. If you are looking for a good and dark collection you won't go far wrong with this.

And so we move on to The Adventures of Dalton Quayle by Paul Kane. Now, I will let it be said here, Paul Kane is one of my favourite authors of the last few years. For this collection PK steps away from the horror scene (slightly) and heads into humour with a bunch of stories that owe a lot to Sherlock Holmes with a lot of nods to genre films.

The stories, as with Holmes, are told from the journal of Dalton Quayle's friend and associate Dr Humphrey Pemberton. There are other hints of Holmes (Inspector Le Strange, the house keeper Mrs Hudsucker, his arch enemy Siphiliti). The settings range from the English countryside to the Wild West (Dalton Quayle Rides Out) via the depths of the sea (Dalton Quayle's Wet One). Each tale is a fun read and each mystery is nicely tied up. A very satisfying collection that had me laughing out load many times, and sometimes just rereading lines and passages in awe of PK's skill with wordplay. A book I will certainly comeback to again.

So, which comes out on top of the two books? Dead Funny is maybe not what you would expect from comedians but is a very good idea for a collection and hopefully there will be a volume two (if you're reading this Robin and Johnny please consider it ;-D), Dalton Quayle was also not quite what I was expecting - much funnier than I thought it would be and, for someone who is a big Sherlock Holmes and genre fan a joy to read.

I guess I'm going to call this a dead heat. Two books that are both worth your perusal and enjoyment.

Dead Funny - 4.5/5 stars

The Adventures of Dalton Quayle - 4.5/5 stars

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