Saturday, December 9, 2017

Bryant & May: Wild Chamber

This is the 15th book for Christopher Fowler's quirky Peculiar Crimes Unit, fronted by the delightfully weird duo, Bryant & May.  Published 5th December, 2017 by Random House, it's available in hardcover, ebook and audio versions.

I've never really found anything that is similar to the PCU novels.  They all have an impossible crime feeling with weird/supernatural overtones which are completely exploded by the time the denouement rolls around.  Christopher Fowler is a masterfully gifted writer.  The novels are truly top drawer, finely crafted, and obey the generally accepted commandments of mystery writing.  And they are funny. Good heavens, they're funny. I read Wild Chamber during my commute and the book often surprised laughter out of me.  (In fact, I wound up recommending the books to several people who were curious what could possibly be so laugh-out-loud funny on my work commutes).

One thing that has surprised me about this series is how very good it was from the start.  There aren't all that many series I can think of which start off really strong and find their stride from book 1.  Honestly there are only a handful of series which haven't seriously flagged (or pooped out) for me after more than a dozen books.  One gets the feeling that many authors are feeding contractual obligations after that many books and, well, 'phoning it in'.  That is emphatically not the case with Fowler.  He's still brilliantly funny and the books are absolutely full of quirky trivia, generally delivered by Arthur Bryant.  If only I could spend some hours in Bryant's library, I would die happy.  In fact, the entire ensemble cast is filled with well developed characters, and the dialogue is pitch perfect. 

The author is prolific and dependably, consistently, good at writing.

The PCU books, generally speaking, function very well as standalone novels and this one would make a good start on the series for readers who are not familiar with the books.

Wonderful series, great book.  I enjoyed it so much.

Five stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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