Oh, hai! I read books, then I write down what I think of them.
[This book was kindly provided to me for the price of No Monies by the kind people at Random House UK/Cornerstone, facilitated in this act of goodness by the almighty NetGalley]
I have one goal in life: the acquisition of 16 more cats who will happily eat my corpse in the 3 week gap between my acquiring that state and anybody noticing. This fact may or may not be related to my enjoyment of this book.
Cat Out Of Hell is a horror story laced with black comedy; the kind thing which, if it were adapted for the TV, you'd really hope would involve Mark Gatiss. Also, you need to read it.
The book begins with a pitch perfect MR James opening introducing the found documents we are about to read. They - a script, a recording, our first narrator's description of some photographs, some other writing - concern a cat called Roger who is relating his life story to a man known as Wiggy. The wheres and wherefores I'm not going to go into, because I feel to say anything would spoil the book - I'll just mention (because I know some people dislike non-standard writing) that most of it is written in normal prose.
Initially, I felt the book struggled to balance its sense of humour with the horror and I was a good 40% of the way in before I "got" what I was reading. The content is quite raw at times if not explicitly so, but the style has one foot firmly in the absurd. In the end though - and I'm honestly not sure whether it settled down or I got used to it but I'd say the former - it definitely worked for me.
The story itself I really liked and Truss gets a small happy dance for managing to have a great idea and actually putting an engaging story with it. It would be easy to hinge this on the funny lines, or the pleasing ideas (like why cats *really* purr, heh heh heh), but instead in Roger I was given a character I wanted to know more about. There's emotion here, and not just from him.
I think my biggest criticism - which isn't really a criticism - is that this could have been more than it is. What's here is a *lot* of fun but I can't help thinking about what it could have been. Although I enjoyed it, I not sure I'm ever going to re-read it which is quite rare given the score.
In conclusion: it's a terrific book with a great story line if a little on the light side for my tastes (which veer towards to literary/book club end). Although I'm describing it as funny this isn't a book which makes you laugh, it makes you cackle and throw back another shot of gin. 4 stars and an author whose backlist I need to check out.