Bad to Worse by Robert Edeson

WALTER Reckels survives an air crash in a classified area in the Arizona Desert but is being pressured into denying his story of hitting a drone. Unbeknown to him he has unintentionally exposed a secret that the Mortiss clan would prefer to keep under wraps. To save his reputation he enlists the help of intelligence analyst Richard Worse (think spooks) which awakens an old feud between the Worse and Mortiss families.

In the meantime in a cave in the Ferendes, ancient hieroglyphs found on the wall of the cave are proving indecipherable to Edvard Tøssentern, Nicholas Misgivington has found quartz that glows and in the deep recesses of the cave lives a grotesque giant bi-ped crab that crushes the neck of Glimpse a Neanderthal thug that the Mortiss clan had sent to kill Nicholas. Why did they want him dead? Why was Glimpse called the Prospector? Why did a Mortiss member of the Board of Inquiry want the drone incident covered up? Why did the Mortiss empire need the Camelline cruise ship casinos to fund their lawless and diabolical business?

There are plots and subplots and cunning plans galore in this highly original novel which sent my brain into overdrive.

Forget a lazy Sunday read, this tale demands your full attention lest you miss a small clue or allegory sneaking into a single sentence. Foot notes and appendices and abundant and don’t even think of skipping these as they are integral to the whole story.

I never thought it possible to be completely baffled, bemused and bewildered at the start of a novel yet absolutely captivated by its uniqueness and ingenuity at the same time.

Bad to Worse showcases Edeson’s skilful storytelling, super imagination, originality, intelligence and wonderfully wicked black humour. His vast knowledge of poetry, philosophy, chemistry, science and maths (oh! So much of the last two went over my head) is astounding. His characters are fabulous, some seem to be spoofs of comic book heroes and villains, others suave and sophisticated even when putting a bullet between your eyes.

Put this on your book club list, it will generate prolonged polemic and passionate verbosity. It is a gem, don’t miss it.

Bad to Worse is published by Fremantle Press and is available at all good book stores or at for $29.99