An author I discovered through Doctor Who is Paul Magrs. I read a couple of his Brenda and Effie books last year, and thoroughly enjoyed them, and have had him on my wishlist ever since. When choosing my recent new book purchases, I couldn’t resist trying his latest novel 666 Charing Cross Road. Shelley works in an obscure Manhattan art gallery, and for her first exhibition as a curator, Women and Madness she finds the oddly strange sculpture, The Scottish Bride, in storage in the basement of the museum and it proves a crowd attracting exhibit. Meanwhile, her aunt Liza (who reads books for a living!) loves supernatural and paranormal fantasy books, but bored with all the specialist shops only selling new authors, she is delighted when her new friend Jack stumbles upon an advert for the antiquarian bookshop at 666 Charing Cross Road. When they send her an unusual tome she never ordered, Liza finds it unsettling and repellent, and Shelley’s boyfriend Daniel takes it off her hands, and sets in motion a chain of horrifying events, which will change all their lives.
An absolutely cracking book! Magrs British humour mixed in to a pan Atlantic story of supernatural powers and creatures, with believable characters who you want to spend time with, and generally a fantastic romp of a story. By far my favourite character has to be Aunt Liza, not only because she has the perfect job – reading books! – but she’s delightfully eccentric, quick witted and with a wicked tongue, she also has an unknown past which reveals itself gradually as the story progresses.
There is a small amount of sexual content and occasional violent scenes, but none are too graphic, and are essential to the story with nothing gratuitous.
Although I think this is intended to be a stand alone novel, I wonder if we’ll see some of the characters in different stories or even appear in some of his other series of books in the future. I, for one, would definitely love to read more with Liza in the future.