DVD Extras Include: Murder by Nev Fountain
One of my first reviews for this particular book-reading thread was Nev Fountain’s experimental Mervyn Stone book, the Twitterature story called The Pen is Mightier than the Nerd. Having listened to the audio drama, the podcast mystery, and the first and third novels in the series, it’s about time that I come to the last Mervyn Stone story for me to read, DVD Extras Include: Murder. But have I saved the rest until last? Or would this kill my enthusiasm for the series?
A year after the murders at Convix 15, Mervyn Stone has been invited to record a DVD commentary for an episode of Vixens from the Void. But not just any episode: the controversial episode called The Burning Time, causing outrage amongst fundamentalists and launching the career of Marcus Spicer, now a very rich and obnoxious arch-atheist. Unfortunately, Mervyn Stone has reason to resent Spicer beyond Spicer being unpleasant and opinionated: Stone had been forced to rewrite Spicer’s work at the last minute, and Spicer got all the credit. But during the commentary recording, Spicer drops dead after drinking from a water bottle that hadn’t been tampered with, and yet, he was poisoned with cyanide. The fundamentalist group known as the Godbotherers have proclaimed it to be a miracle, an act of God. But Mervyn Stone isn’t so sure. Neither is Spicer’s wife and Mervyn’s one time squeeze, Cheryl. And soon, Mervyn Stone will be drawn into a mystery that involves a mildly unhinged policewoman fan, a fundamentalist who bakes the face of Jesus into cookies, and more than one has-been actor. And someone is not only willing to kill, but more than willing to allow Mervyn to take the fall…
As mentioned before, I’m not really good with murder-mysteries. One of the reasons why I enjoyed Mervyn Stone is that the story built around the mystery is entertaining enough nonetheless. Here, I think, Nev Fountain manages a near perfect mix between the humour and the drama. In fact, this book is more serious than the other Mervyn Stone stories, and is actually all the more better for it. It’s still quite funny, and will also prove to be an interesting insight into the making of DVD commentaries. My only real complaint about the plot is that it took me a while to follow the mystery, although it has a good conclusion.
Mervyn Stone is, as always, a good protagonist, dropped in the deep end and having many FML moments. Indeed, due to his interaction with Cheryl, we’re given a far more personal insight into the character than ever before. Mick is a strange but ultimately intriguing character, and indeed, most of the more prominent characters, with the exception of Lewis Bream, are interesting to one stripe or another.
Overall, I considered this Mervyn Stone story, while not actually perfect, to be the best of the whole lot. Good on you, Nev Fountain.
FIRST WORDS: Vixens from the Void stays with you.
LAST WORDS: (Not recorded due to spoilers)
I've lived for over 2000 years, and not all of them were good ones. I've made many mistakes. And it's about time I did something about that.
-The Twelfth Doctor, Doctor Who: Deep Breath