The premise is best described as Men In Black meets Pacific Rim. We follow the adventures of a secret government agency which hides and manages the existence of giant, inter-dimensional, world-ending "gods" known as the Venislarn. Armageddon is inevitable but the agency are tasked with ensuring the Venislarn don't rush their plans to unleash hell on earth.
It is an inspired and original set-up. Inter-dimensional monsters haven't yet had their moment to shine in contemporary fiction, unlike say aliens or vampires or werewolves.
The Venislarn are brilliant creations: there is the ruler, Yo-Morgantus, who has a fetish for redheads; there are the August Handmaidens of Prein, enormous spiders armoured with porcelain masks of screaming babies; Zildrohar-Cqulu, a giant crocodile whose scream can inspire suicide; and Daganau-Pysh, a tentacled creature lurking in Birmingham's canals.
The canals are just one example of key Birmingham locations interwoven into the story. The agency itself is based in the iconic Library of Birmingham, which houses a Vault of fiendish creations; several Venislarn hold court at the top of the Cube; and the Balti Triangle is a prison for another Venislarn. We even visit Grand Central and Cadbury's World in the exciting finale. Birmingham urban fantasy is an expanding genre thanks to writers such as Goody, Grant and James Brogden. Long may it continue.
However, if all this talk of scary monsters sounds a bit gruesome, then rest assured, Oddjobs is still a comedy. There are some great moments, including an opening set-piece in which the characters desperately try to find the heart of a virgin; a brilliant conversation about the persecution of redheads; and a funny, well-observed session with the marketing department who strive to put a positive spin on the apocalypse.
The lead characters are diverse and lovable, as you would expect from Goody and Grant. Rod is the resourceful ex-army man, Morag is the tough new recruit from Scotland, Nina is the promiscuous youngster, whilst Vivian is cold, rational and has all the best lines.
This is my favourite Goody and Grant collaboration to date. Their previous books are loosely plotted to enable lots of episodic set-pieces, whereas Oddjobs has a more complex plot, with multiple mysteries for the characters (and reader) to solve. There are some nice twists too.
Rather than simply a comedy, Oddjobs is also a supernatural cop thriller, an office satire and a horror. It is an odd mesh of genres but it certainly does the job.
If you would like Simon to review your book then check out his Review Policy for more information. Sign up to Simon's newsletter to hear more about his reading and writing projects.