Book Review: Death, the Devil and the Goldfish by Andrew Buckley

Death, the Devil and the GoldfishDeath, the Devil and the Goldfish
Andrew Buckley
Curiosity Quills, December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-62007-125-0
Trade Paperback

Death has had enough. A pub in Ireland might have something to do with that, but still, he’s had enough. And the Devil is due for another sojourn on earth, his first in a few thousand years. One week outside the confines and agonies of Hell and he can’t wait. Being the Devil, he has a plan up his sleeve. I mean, why relax for a week when you can wreck havoc? He just hasn’t reckoned on the prophetic, telepathic powers of one goldfish called Jeremiah. The problem is, Jeremiah’s memory isn’t the greatest and…oh look, someone’s put a castle in his bowl.

I have to say, this book gripped me in the first page and didn’t let go until I found the last dizzying sentence. Anyone who can appreciate the sense of humour in the UK will love this book as it is delightfully hilarious with its absurd scenarios and the way everything flies in the face of logic. Admittedly, it was sometimes difficult to keep up with the story as it zigzagged from character to character but in the end, it was well worth it. The further on the story went, the easier it was to keep a hold on who was who and what they were supposed to be doing, or in some cases, not doing. I quite liked the whole storyline with Death and his new friend Gerald, formerly a penguin but now deposited in the body of a former Olympic swimmer who met an unfortunate end via a bus and a driver called Dante. See what I mean about the British humour?

There are a lot of laugh out loud moments so whatever you do, don’t drink tea when you’re reading this book. A visitor to the house who was doing some computer work with my husband even asked me what I was laughing at since I kept disturbing them with my loud and unpredictable cackle. At one point, I checked what page I was at and realised that I had ploughed through almost 150 pages without realising. Imagine my disappointment when I knew I only had forty pages left which has to be a sign of a good read. This story is brilliantly funny with a host of characters that are interesting and have enough quirks to keep psychiatrists in business for a millennia.

If you get the chance to read Death, The Devil and the Goldfish, I heartily recommend that you do and judging from the ending and epilogue, there just might be another title coming our way. Lucky us!

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, February 2013.