Sunday, August 06, 2006

 

The Man from the Diogenes Club in the San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Berry, a good friend to the genre, reviews Kim Newman's The Man from the Diogenes Club in today's San Francisco Chronicle:
"Kim Newman, author of 'Anno Dracula' and 'The Quorum,' recounts the adventure of super-groovy psychic investigator Richard Jeperson in The Man From the Diogenes Club (MonkeyBrain; 389 pages; $15.95 trade paperback).

When the security of 1970s Britain is threatened by haunted seaside resorts, homicidal golems and sinister mental institutions that train brainwashed assassins, the local authorities call in Jeperson, the most valued member of the country's most secret intelligence agency. Aided by forthright cop Fred Regent and the lovely, mysterious and ultra-competent Vanessa, Jeperson uses his psychic sensitivity to ferret out spectral presences, mad doctors and Nazi zombies.

Newman is something of a magpie, grabbing shiny bits of material from a wide range of sources, and it doesn't take a literary detective to spot his homages to 'The Avengers,' 'The Prisoner,' Sherlock Holmes and even Scooby-Doo. For readers who need extra help, this volume contains a witty glossary that explicates the more obscure references to pre-Thatcher pop culture in the United Kingdom.

The Jeperson stories are great, giddy fun, but probably shouldn't be read in one gulp. A few, like the overlong 'The Serial Murders,' are likely to tax the patience of anyone who didn't grow up glued to BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. Taken together, though, the stories in "The Man from the Diogenes Club" are a smart and fond celebration of a very strange decade."

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