Book Review: Death, the Devil and the Goldfish

Posted January 22nd, 2013 by in book review / 0 comments

death the devil and the goldfish


Title: Death, the Devil and the Goldfish
Author: Andrew Buckley
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Version Read: ebook ARC
Publication Date: December 5th 2012
Categories: Sci-fi, Fiction, Paranormal

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way reflects my feelings towards the book or the book’s review.

Summary (Goodreads): From the Bahamas to Heathrow airport, to the rain soaked streets of London the dead have ceased dying.
This is inconvenient for a number of reasons but what’s the real reason behind the chaos?
In London we find Nigel Reinhardt, a disgraced, confused, and gifted London police constable who owns a prophetic goldfish. In Ireland the Angel of Death questions the value and position of his current employment. At Majestic Technologies Celina McMannis works diligently on a top secret project. At the South Pole there lives a very unhappy penguin.
When the Devil hatches a nefarious plot to take over the world by possessing a cute little kitty and seizing a factory of robotic Christmas elves it’s up to Nigel and his group of unlikely companions to save the world or die trying… or both.

I am starting this review of Death, the Devil and the Goldfish as I am on page 99 of the ebook. I recieved the ebook from Netgalley in return for an honest review, so here goes. So far, I am pretty much confused. There are a lot of character perspectives within the book and I am finding it hard to connect the pieces of the puzzle together.

Edited to Add (27/01/2012): Have read 64% (page 159) of the ebook. Possibly more confused than I was when I left off last time. More in depth update further down.

Editied (29/01/2012): Finished.

The goldfish referenced in the title belongs to the Devil – it’s his pet goldfish whom he has left behind in the depths of Hell while he gets one week to wander about on Earth, in the body of his choosing, (or should that person be unavailable, the body chosen by God himself), and cause havoc. Death has gone on strike thanks to a night in a rowdy Irish pub and a talking cat, so anybody who dies is not staying dead. Then we have Nigel who is a police officer and he is involved in the story because he was sent to investigate the case of a possessed and talking cat. He also has a gambling problem and is on suspension from the force. Then there is an eccentric millionaire who doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the story whatsoever, and a very cranky Scottish woman named Celina who works in the millionaire’s factory and is currently locked in the cafeteria. Oh and a penguin named Gerald who doesn’t want to be a penguin. And some robotic elves who may or may not be bonkers.

Issues: Why is it taking so long to get to the main part of the story? The book is only 248 pages long and at 40% of the book read, we haven’t (as far as I can tell) gotten any closer to working out how the characters are connected, with the exception of the title characters. Also the consistent flipping between characters is quite jarring as it can be very abrupt and random.

Edited to Add (27/01/2012): Okay, so apparently although the Devil has a goldfish, the particular goldfish in the story actually belongs to Nigel.  Also, Gerald is no longer a penguin, and has struck up a bizarre friendship with Death, who is drunk again. Gerald is also inhabiting the body that the Devil had intended on inhabiting whilst he was wandering around on earth for a week.  The two thugs who where hounding Nigel for repayment of his gambling debts are now being intimidated by Fuzzbucket (aka the Devil) into stealing some lemons from Heathrow. The lemons have something to do with the elves and the Devil’s plan for chaos. Possibly. Currently 64% of the way through and starting to struggle with the idea of finishing it. The storyline seems to spin about in circles that occasionally hit each other and drop a clue or some info that connects a small piece of something else together. It’s rambling and not in a good sense of the word, at least in my opinion. Going to give it a bit longer and see if it starts to mesh together more.

Edited to Add (29/01/2012): Well, I’m finished. It was all a bit anti-climactic in the end. Death, Gerald, Nigel and Celina saved the world with the help of a mechanical elf named Eggnog and a goldfish. I found the ending to be a bit rushed, as though the author had finally gotten everyone onstage and just wanted to spit out the ending as quickly as possible so it started to make some sense. I predict from the ending that there is likely to be a sequel. Hopefully the author will take less time trying to introduce to us to people (less of their back story if it isn’t directly related to the storyline) and more time to flesh out the actual plot of the story.

I think it could have been better if the swapping of perspectives between the characters had been more fluid and linked to the part of the story you were at. At times you were jolted out of the story somewhat because all of a sudden you were quite a distance from where you had just been.

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