|A Festival of Skeletons is R. J.
Astrucs first novel, but she is an accomplished writer at the short story end of the
science fiction and fantasy market so I had hopes of a competently written story if
nothing else. If this edition is anything to go by Ms Astruc has a very promising future
as a writer of comedic prose at novel length.
New writers inevitably draw comparisons to
the established/known talents and for me the obvious comparator is early Terry Pratchett,
with his sly satire and juxtaposition of the ordinary and the absurd; the less obvious is
Christopher Moore, who treats the usual standards of horror or fantasy as fit targets for
lampoons and pratfalls so it is with Ms Astruc, who happily uses satire, lampoon
and pratfall, often to hilarious effect.
Her story is populated by cross-dressing morticians, monomaniacal police, a cook with charisma
and zombies, courtesy of a soupcon too much necromancy, delivered within a deftly told
story populated by characters that I cared about. And more importantly, A
Festival of Skeletons is a fun read so much so I was most disappointed
when I finished the book.
R. J. Astruc is fortunate that I dont know where she lives otherwise I would be
besieging her domicile and demanding, with money and menaces, a sequel
or a new
novel, either will do.