To the devil a daughter!
Parenthood can come as a shock to some. It’s especially shocking if you are Satan, the Prince of Hell, and are trying to living a quiet life of semi-retirement in suburban England under the name of Jeremy Clovenhoof.
Clovenhoof quickly finds that being a single parent involves more than lullabies and nappies and has to contend with social disapproval, paternity tests and, possibly, the end of the world.
The fifth novel in the Clovenhoof series, Beelzebelle is an anarchic adventure, featuring a psychotic monkey au pair, runaway coffins, badly stuffed animals, strip dominoes, fire-breathing ferrets, pimped-up prams, well-meaning middle-class mums, apocalyptic floods, the largest act of public nudity Birmingham has ever seen and way too much homebrew Lambrini.
From the Authors in exchange for a review. I have read several previous books in the series, namely Godsquad and Hellzapoppin. Whilst I have “met” Jeremy (and Nerys!) several times at readings around Birmingham, this is the first book containing him as a character that I’ve read – the other physical books are sitting on my shelves waiting to be read, honest!
The Publisher is Pigeon Park Press, an independent Birmingham based Publisher.
The book starts with Jeremy Clovenhoof, blind and with a helper Capuchin monkey, turning up at Sandra’s house to do some baby-sitting. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan, and Clovenhoof finds himself out on the balcony, with a locked door behind him (watched over by a psychotic monkey), with tomato soup burning his crotch and wearing a badly-done-up Laura Ashley dress that leaves nothing to the imagination……
We go back a few weeks to find out just how Clovenhoof feels paternal, and he seems to have developed a here-to-unknown talent for interacting with babies (something about farting apparently). Nerys has found out just who Jeremy and Michael are, and she finds that this explains a lot about both of them. We find out about SCUM (Sutton Coldfield Union of Mothers), just what the new Consecr8 church will do to the Archangel Michael and his relationship with God; the reaction of the Puritanical to Breastfeeding in public, especially when confronted with militant Feminists; why Jeremy went temporarily blind; how far a grieving, psychotic, Au-Pair monkey will go when its purpose in life is gone; Nerys loses one job, but gains another (in part by becoming a brief Internet sensation); that everyone in Sutton Coldfield seems to be related to everyone else.
We get to know more about Michael and his job in the genetics lab, which leads to some issues when Jeremy’s DNA gets mixed up with the hair from Nerys’ stuffed Yorkie and random other dead animals and then gets brought to life. Meanwhile, we get to find out why the Consecr8 church has the rather unusual shape that it does, in a final scene that involves a massive boat full of people essentially floating on raw sewage, bouncy castles in the shape of breasts, topless SCUM members staging a protest with an interesting tactic involving baby formula, and a rescue attempt using a crane and a stretch White Transit Van.
It’s difficult to fully describe these books, and the rather British Farce they entail – helped with the fact that two of the central characters happen to be the Goat-shaped, horned Prince of Hell and the holier-than-thou (literally) Archangel Michael who’s current life partner is called Andy.
In writing my book reviews, I have a list of questions to jog my thinking. This list includes:
“Was the Plot believable?”. Of course not! Satan living in Sutton Coldfield next door to Archangel Michael? Soho maybe, but Sutton?
“Did the World building make sense?” Pretty Much. I doubt anything would be normal if you have these two hanging round you. I would drink too.
“Did the author explain situations well?” Satan, his drunk friends, psychotic monkeys, militant feminists…….What’s there to explain?
“Would you recommend this book to a friend?” Only to people with a sense of humour, who can deal with surreal and silly British Farce.