- Nikky Lee
Book Review: The Book and the Blade by A.B. Finlayson
Title: The Book and the Blade (Arthur Crazy #1)
Author: A.B. Finlayson
Publisher: The Parliament House
Page Count: 270
Genre: Horror Comedy
A perfect story for fans of Gaiman and Pratchett’s GOOD OMENS, SHAUN OF THE DEAD and THE WORLD’S END.
Arthur Crazy is drunk and seeing ghosts.
This is not a metaphor. The dead are walking and talking, and it doesn't matter that Arthur doesn't believe in them. They believe in him.
Too drunk to recall how he stumbled upon his nascent power, Arthur is burdened with newfound responsibility: he’s the only one who can hear the unfinished business of every dead guy in York, and he’s the only one who can help.
As forgotten legends and lost demons stir all over the cobbled streets and snickleways, Arthur finds himself at the centre of an unfolding mystery—a light in the desert, a fart at a funeral—and he is about to discover that an unfortunate surname isn't the only thing that makes him stand out.
Arthur just wants to sober up, have a kebab, and go home, but his conscience is knocking loud and clear, demanding he open the damn door. He may not be the hero the dead need, but he’s the one they’re stuck with. Besides, one of those ghosts seems kind of cute.
If Terry Pratchett, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost teamed up to write a book this would be it. A.B. Finlayson’s hilarious horror story The Book and the Blade tells the story of Arthur Crazy (and yes, he’s heard every joke in the book about that surname), who discovers he can see ghosts while out on a drunken night on the town.
The first half of the book follows Arthur’s drunken-turned-terrified romp through the streets of York as he struggles to comprehend having his world turned on its head. There’s running, screaming, more running, fainting, and a whole pile of ghosts popping out of the literal woodwork.
A particular aspect I loved about this take on a ghost story is Arthur’s drunken damsel—he’s confused, slow to connect the dots, and when the penny drops, scared shitless and runs around screaming. It is such a wonderfully normal reaction to his situation. Arthur Crazy is not a hero (yet), he’s just one ordinary guy in over his head.
The second half of the book sees Arther coming to terms with his ability and the fact that it’s drawing all kinds of unnaturals to him. This is a man so totally, laughably, out of his depth, and yet over the course of the story we get to see the strength of his character shine. He cares about the fate of the ghosts he’s connected to and the people he crosses paths with. Without revealing too much, when the moment comes, he steps up—still in a fumbling, stumbling, I-still-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-oops way—but step up he does.
Hilarious and heartwarming The Book And The Blade is a supernatural awakening you can’t put down.