Movie waiting to happen
I had read the previous incarnation and incursion of Simon Okill’s into the world of Bigfoot and Big Beaver. I saw that the author had written a young adult version of the novel and of course I had to read it. Much of my original review still stands and I’ll include the parts that are relevant, although I must admit that I prefer this version. Why? Although the story is still humorous, it has become also more complex, and the characters are more nuanced. We have added elements to the story (the aliens and the fact that Duane’s affinity for the Bigfoot is fully explained now and he even has special powers) and the characters are more fully-fledged. Although it is classed as a young adult book, I think adults will enjoy it as much, if not more, than younger readers, especially as many of the cultural references might be more familiar to people of a certain age.
I am not a genre reader. I don’t read a particular type of novel (or even only fiction, although it is my predilection) exclusively and I normally see what tickles my fancy at the time of choosing a book, although once decided I’ll usually stick to it.
I like comedies and humour but rarely buy books that are exclusively humour. I probably watch more comedy films than I read comedy novels.
One thing that struck me as soon as I started reading Simon Okill’s new novel was how much it felt like a film. From the establishing of the setting (‘Big Beaver’) and the characters (female sheriff still pining for the boyfriend who left five years ago for unknown reasons, large donut eating deputies, lascivious female bartender, young Native American chief with wise sayings, hunters and crackpots) in the first few pages you feel as if you’d walked into Big Beaver and are an observer (when not a full participant. I must say I sometimes thought I could smell the Bigfoot) in all the shenanigans taking place. It made sense when I read that Mr Okill had written a number of scripts. He has a knack for it, that’s for sure.
You have a mysteriously disappeared youth (that like Peter and the wolf had pretended to be abducted so many times that nobody believes he’s gone missing), bizarre crimes (Bigfoot breaking and entering to have a bath and leaving a variety of sweet foodstuffs there), FBI investigating team (hot female agent and the return of the Big Beaver prodigal son) and some set pieces you’ll never forget (alien abduction by Swedish-looking and lusty aliens from the planet Abba).
And of course, you have the Bigfoot. Although narrated in the third person this is an omniscient narrator who gets in the heads of all character, including the Bigfoot. If the human characters keep defeating your expectations (they’re all familiar types but keep surprising you), the Bigfoot are (at least to me) completely unexpected. Loveable and romantic, civilised and wild, they are not far from the noble savage ideal…only a bit hairier.
If you like out-of-the-ordinary comedies, have a soft-spot for lovable and unwise characters and long to submerge yourself in an unexpected world you’ll feel right at home in Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again. Imagine ‘American Pie’ or ‘There’s something about Mary’ in a small mountain-town setting, with Bigfoot, and you might get a vague idea of what the book is about. If you fancy that image and are looking for a series that promises never ending entertainment, what are you waiting for? Go on and buy the book!