Made of Stone, the fifth book in the skewed, off-kilter saga of Royston Blake, finds the former doorman on a mission to eradicate vampires from the town of Mangle. At least I think it does. Royston and his mate Jock (a Scottish alcoholic, natch) traipse around town carrying stakes and whisky, looking for these vampires, who are actually just Egyptians, while Royston constantly fiddles with his penis. Along the way there are jokes involving shit, farts, breasts, and bad hygiene (which long-time followers of Royston will know is par for the course). After a bit I didn’t know whether I was meant to be amused, scared, upset, or baffled. Sometimes I was all those things at once.
Williams, we know, is something of a champion, having managed to secure a publishing deal for the ongoing adventures of Royston after e-petitioning his followers and using the evidence to persuade a publisher of the need to keep Royston alive and – if not quite well, at least functioning. Reading the fifth book without any prior knowledge of the saga might be a little bit like trying to pick Fringe up around Season 4 – by which I mean to say, Made of Stone is a bit barmy, likely to offend and infuriate sometimes in equal measure. But you might also find yourself chuckling, sometimes, in spite of yourself.
Any Cop?: Arguably the darkest outing so far, if you’ve followed Royston this far you’ll want to keep up with your man, if only to see how the other half live. If you’re new to Charlie Williams and the kinds of things he does, maybe start at the start and do your noggin in completely.