Ceri Edwards and two school friends lift the lid on an ancient book of recipes belonging to Betty Williams, a volunteer at the local hospital in Pontypridd, South Wales. Two Kansas City cops step off a flight at London Heathrow and one of them falls to the ground with a painful conviction that there’s something evil in the air. United in their destinies, Ceri and the police officers are drawn into a world where prophecies are pitted against invisible forces planning to raze London to the ground and bring down the Royal Family. It all rests with Dai Williams, recently knighted MI5 agent and reluctant hero, to bring some order to the improbable events and to ensure that afternoon tea at The Ritz continues for another hundred years. A great cross between Kim Newman and Ben Aaranovitch and a thrill for any fan of contemporary urban horror. (goodreads.com)
This book had no idea what it was and I had no idea what I was reading.
Just to break down the blurb, the teens and the Kansas City police officers are completely unrelated and don’t even meet until the very end of the book. Dai Williams is rather useless and has nothing resting with him. I don’t know who Kim Newman or Ben Aaranovitch are but I can tell you this is not urban horror. I don’t know what this was other than ridiculous.
The only way I can really describe the book is it’s like following a stumbling drunk home. You’ll eventually get to your destination but not before you lurch around, wander down some side streets, go backward, forward, side to side, fall face down into a puddle and get back up again. The author was way more concerned about being quippy and dropping as many “intelligent” references as possible than just telling the story. Development didn’t just happen. It happened with a reference to a show or with a snide comment or a paragraph of meandering thought. It was so all over the place it made keeping the actual story straight exceedingly difficult.
I really shut down when “the knowing” turned into a prophetic nutsack. That’s not a euphemism. A dude’s balls give him “the sight.” I don’t even know what to do with this book. It looks vaguely put-together. Nice cover. Interesting, if a little quirky, story going on. But the actual book is a mess. I’m motion sick at the end of it for all the lurching it does. I know what the author is trying to do but I think it falls flat. The exceedingly heavy-handed “humor” coupled with a lot of English-specific colloquialisms made context nearly impossible and the book feels like it wasn’t plotted. It just zigzags all over the place with very little cohesion.
THE KNOWING just didn’t work in any respect. It’s tonally off from the blurb, it can’t stick to its own story, and the author has shoved himself so deeply into the never-ending quips that it became too difficult to even see the characters anymore. The world is lost too. It doesn’t seem at all developed, but instead seemed like a good concept that just coasted on the surface without any digging. And it provided great support for telepathic testicles. So there’s that.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.