One of my comfort books, A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, is an especially good read this month, of course, leading up to Halloween. I reread it just about every year. (This year I’m working through a Stephen King book in honor of Halloween; review pending, but so far it’s falling far short of this book).
A Night in the Lonesome October is actually all the nights in October; it is broken up into 31 short chapters, one for each day in October, and is narrated by a dog. The writing and structure of the book both make it read like a book for young readers, but the plot is full of intrigue and murders that may not necessarily be appropriate for all ages. The dog narrator belongs to Jack the Ripper, who is also the protagonist while still doing the sort of things Jack the Ripper would do (however, no prostitutes are harmed in the making of this story).
For me, it is the perfect combination of the whimsy of a children’s book applied to an adult plot, but it is such an unusual combination that I think it wouldn’t be every reader’s cup of tea. Additionally, if you really love Roger Zelazny’s other works, like the Princes of Amber series, you may not love this one. It is so unlike any of his other works that it feels like it is from a different Roger Zelazny. I myself read this book first, and was subsequently disappointed in all his other works, which are much more serious, convoluted, and adult (less narrating dogs, too).
As you may have noticed, I haven’t even touched on the plot of the book; I don’t want to give away even the most superficial plot points—just read it and have a happy Halloween!
After I read your review I went and added this to my hold list at the library! Perfect thing to re-read this time of year. And it will be a nice change from my current book, a non-fiction expose about the fraud of a religion I will call (because I don’t want to get sued) The Church of Something-ology.
Yay! Definitely take a break from your expose! “The Psychopath Test” was pretty rough on The Church of Something-ology, too. I actually thought about mailing you my copy of A Night in the Lonesome October, because it is somewhat hard to get, but I checked my local library and they had it, which made me think it was likely yours did too.
I just finished re-reading this and it was SO GOOD. I remembered enjoying it the first time I read it, but I think it was even better the second time through, since I knew what was going on and could appreciate the details instead of spending my time trying to figure out what was going on.