Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code - Robert Rankin

    2007; 318 pages.  New Author? : No.  Genre : Fiction; Humor.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

    Jonny Hooker is a winner!  Which is rather atypical of his life so far.  Technically, all he’s won is the opportunity to solve the Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code.  Whatever that is.

    But hey, once he solves the code before anyone else does – and Jonny is resolved to do just that – then there’s got to be some sort of fabulous prize or a ton of cash waiting for him, amiright?  And with his imaginary friend, Mr. Giggles the Monkey Boy to help him, what could possibly go wrong?

What’s To Like...
    The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code is vintage Robert Rankin absurdity, replete with running gags, some of them confined to this story; some of them spilling over from other Rankin novels.  If you’re a fan of the secret lethal martial art of Dimac and/or the Lady in the Straw Hat, you’ll feel quite at home here.  The sun went behind a cloud and a dog howled in the distance.

     The plotline is semi-coherent, which is about par for the course.  At the start, it seems we are going to be treated to a spoof of The Da Vinci Code, but that rapidly gets subsumed in a plethora of vexing-but-delightful tangents.  Mayhem ensues, but as always, things come together just in time for a unconvincing-yet-satisfying ending.

    Jonny is a musician and plays in a genre-varying band called Dry Rot.  Thus music is a prominent theme here, with both Elvis and Robert Johnson playing a part.  Apparently the hardback version comes with a bonus CD, but I read the $15 paperback version.  It promised a free download of the CD, but all I could do was play the songs.  Perhaps the free-CD offer expired; otherwise I am too dense to figure out how to download it. 

Kewlest New Word...
Sarnie (n.) : A sandwich  (Britishism)

    “And what is Mister Giggles having, then?”
    “Mister Giggles is buying his own.”
    “Cheap shot,” said Mr. Giggles.  “A tot of rum and a bag of nuts will see me fine.”
    “A bag of nuts,” said Jonny.
    “Dry-roasted, honey-roasted, salted, plain or fancy?”
    “Fancy nuts?” said Jonny.
    “Not really,” said O’Fagin.  “I prefer crisps.”  (pg. 16)

    Black indeed as the yawning grave itself, the long, dark night of the soul and the bum of the sweeper who chimneys doth sweep was the interior of Paul’s abode.  If it stood still and could be painted black, then Paul had painted it so.  With two coats.  (pg. 130)

“I get these flashes.  In my head.  It’s my holy guardian angel, I believe, that or Barry the Time Sprout.”  (pg. 97)
   If you have never read a Robert Rankin novel before, this is probably not the one to start with.  I’ve read six so far (there are a bunch more), and I’m thinking Knees Up Mother Earth (reviewed here) or The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse (reviewed here) provide a more coherent introduction to Rankin mania. 

    Veteran Rankin readers know better than to expect a story-driven novel.  And for those, TDDDDDC will not disappoint.  It is witty, captivating, and pleasantly nonsensical.

    8 Stars.  I can’t see this being anyone’s favorite Robert Rankin book, but it made me laugh and kept me entertained.

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