As a dyed-in-the-wool Jasper Fforde ffan, I recommend Shades Of Grey. No, not that one!
Shades Of Grey deviates from Fforde’s brilliantly off-kilter, zany other-Britain adventures of Thursday Next, a LiteraTech operative for SpecOps-27, a crime fighting division inside literary fiction – literally – but there is some serious world building going on. The Fforde trademark of inventiveness and unusual plot twists is there but the tone is sombre, the protagonist Eddie Russett lives in a tightly controlled world with a rigid hierarchy based on primary colours. However, Eddie is not stupid and rises to the challenge of solving a perplexing mystery with the aid of some ‘colourful’ locals and a feisty Grey woman, Jane.
I have to say it is not my all-time favourite book in Fforde’s repertoire: Thursday Next wins. I found the ending unsatisfying (except discovering where spoons go) although I do think it has been left open for a sequel. If you’ve read the odd humour of Douglas Adams or inimitable Terry Pratchett and want a neo-noir version, try Jasper Fforde for ffun. There’s enough books to keep you going!
Fforde has also written humorous Nursery Crimes series, and The Last Dragonslayer series about teenager Jennifer Strange. Her agency, Kazam, employs weird and wonderful wizards who create magic and mayhem.
Check the website Grand Central http://www.jasperfforde.com/
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward