First published back in January of 2012, ‘Spiggot’ formed the gloriously over-the-top crime-thriller comedy novel from British author Craig Saunders.

DLS Synopsis:
When seven of the thirteen Phylacteries of the Disciples were stolen, the police were more than a little keen to get their hands on the perpetrator.  Their prime suspect, known only as the ‘Egyptian Lady from Stoke’, along with her towering accomplice ‘The Amazonian’, has so far out-foxed the law.  But with the last three Phylacteries known to still be in existence going up for auction shortly, the police start plotting a trap for the highly-organised and annoyingly cunning thief.

Enter Spiggot.  A slobbish bigot, Detective Inspector Spiggot isn’t exactly the easiest to get along with.  He’s anti-foreigners, sexist, boorish, vulgar and utterly self-centred.  But he’s darn good at his job.  Probably because he can relate to a lot of the scum out there.  He can think on their own level.  See the world through their selfish eyes.

Together with his fresh-faced partner, the beautiful Francesca Trout (who has a slightly gammy slow-eye), the two police officers think that this up-and-coming high-end auction might just be the break they need to finally catch the illusive Egyptian Lady from Stoke.

Ever since the BNP won the election, the United Kingdom had been far less immigrant friendly.  So Spiggot’s hoping that the Egyptian will stick out like a sore thumb.  However, it still won’t be easy for them.  And as they set their trap in the luscious setting of the top class auction, cracks in their face-recognition software are already starting to appear.  This isn’t good!

And when it all goes wrong for Spiggot and Trout – it really goes wrong.  Before they even know what’s happening, RTV stars Elana Margret and Gorgeous George seem to be making it off with the last three Phylacteries.  In a last ditch attempt to stop the theft from under their noses, Spiggot grabs hold of the buxom Gorgeous George, grabbing one of the Phylacteries as he does so, and point-blank refuses to let go.  For his heroic actions, Spiggot ends up in a coma along with a broken hand clutching a shattered Phylactery.

But it doesn’t stop there.  When the Phylactery was smashed and Spiggot was subsequently beaten unconscious, his mind was transported out of his body, across Norwich City, and into that of the heavily sedated serial axe killer, Harold Munkopf.  Now trapped in someone else’s body that’s currently locked up in a maximum security residential hospital for the criminally insane, and repeatedly drugged up to high-heaven, thing’s certainly aren’t looking up for Spiggot.  But on the plus side, his new body has a pretty big dong!

Spiggot needs to get out of this white-washed hell-hole and across the city to Trout’s apartment.  Somehow he needs to convince his slightly neurotic partner (who incidentally despises him) that he is not the insane axe murderer Harold Munkopf, but in fact Spiggot in Munkopf’s body.  With the entire Norwich City police force no doubt hot on his heels, he must further locate the infamous Egyptian Lady from Stoke, and then using one of the stolen Phylacteries of the Disciples, return to his body whilst capturing the thieves and ensuring that the returned Harold Munkopf doesn’t get loose.

Piece of cake…

DLS Review:
Oh yes, this is as utterly mad as it sounds.  With our principal protagonist being the shamefully loveable anti-hero Spiggot, author Craig Saunders really goes to town in setting off with a gloriously lowbrow and humorously immature comedy thriller.

First off the reader is introduced to the novel by way of a strange writer and co-writer dialogue that banters back-and-forth at the beginning (and end of) most chapters.  Along with these amusing little ditties from the faux-behind-the-scenes chit-chat, odd little ‘musical interludes’ are brought in every so often, adding a certain ‘movie air’ to the whole surreal shenanigans.

To be honest, from the very first few pages, I was barely able to suppress a grin at the unashamedly uncouth humour of it all.  Saunders is clearly a very funny man.  More than that, he knows how to be stupid, without going too far into the moronic fields of Dumbdom to spoil the actual plot of the novel.

And so, for the first fifty pages or so, the novel just piles on the childish jokes, with Spiggot as the principal catalyst for the vast majority of them.  However, sadly Saunders fails to keep up this constant amusing wackiness, and gradually the percentage of humour in relation to storyline begins to drop.  And then before you know it, you’re left with a weirdly manic storyline, with the odd joke thrown in almost as an obligatory afterthought.

That’s not to say that the novel isn’t still an enjoyable read from start to finish.  It is.  But it does loose its comical footing somewhat after a good third of the tale has gone by, and then as a direct symptom of this, begins to sag a little with the maniacal ins-and-outs of the plotline bombarding the reader with little in the way of light relief to help it along.

As the tale motors along with the vast multitude of madness going on keeping up the majority of its momentum, Saunders starts to edge in the first signs of a finale, and the final converging of all our gloriously over-the-top characters.  And then as it does, the tale once again begins to heat up, the off-hand jokes start to creep back in, and the whole enjoyment level is reawakened.

So, in the end, what are we left with?  Well, ‘Spiggot’ is certainly by-far-and-away one of the most bizarre and off-the-wall comedy thrillers out there.  It’s more Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams than Ben Elton – but with a hefty helping of Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall‘s ‘Bottom’ (1991-1995) thrown in for good measure.  It’s mildly-vulgar and smugly lowbrow, with a great amount of emphasis on creating the most outlandish crime-thriller plot possible.

I for one enjoyed it.  The first fifty or so pages set my hopes up high for an utterly hilarious roller-coaster of a ride, but the jokes slowly dried up somewhat.  However, in the end the humour came back with magical gusto and the novel concludes with a crazed-man’s salute to all those who came along for the ride.

The novel runs for a total of 296 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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