Resize text+=

‘Catchpenny:’ Book Review

Add one aging singer turned magical thief, a missing girl, a sudden worldwide obsession with death cults, and a dash of intensely lifechanging MMORPG; shake furiously while focusing all your willpower on the final concoction; and serve. You might have something that begins to resemble the chaotic whirlwind of Charlie Huston’s new novel, Catchpenny.

In a universe where devotion and attachment to physical objects gives them power that anyone can access (for a small personal price), and reflections can be portals or take lives of their own, Sid Catchpenny was at the top of the mojo-pilfering food chain. Debilitating, chronic depression nearly destroyed his career, but when an old acquaintance asks Sid for help finding a missing girl, it might be a chance to fix everything.

Catchpenny took several chapters to suck me in, simply because the plot starts small and seems random while it lays the foundations for the brilliant finish. Nothing (or at least very little) enters the pages without a reason, even if it’s not obvious immediately. For me, it was like knitting, where the individual strands of yarn eventually came together to create a whole. I enjoyed the conclusion, but some aspects of the journey were more tedious that I had anticipated.

Sid Catchpenny acts as reader focal point, but I realized quickly that his severe chronic depression made him a somewhat unreliable narrator. I’ve had my own battle with recurrent depression, and I recognized quickly that Sid’s perception did not always match reality. Since Sid played my guide in this unfamiliar world, I had to take his observations as fact. Huston plays with this skillfully, especially when Sid’s core belief about his wife’s death is shattered.

Catchpenny is one of those stories that works best if you don’t know too much about the plot going in. Sid’s emotional and physical journey lies against a wild backdrop of characters and circumstances that seem impossible to combine without self-combustion. Remember: The key to saving the world is destroying it first; it just may not be clear how to demolish things without erasing them completely.

4 Daring Uses of Compact Mirrors out of 5

Creative Team: Charlie Huston (author)
Publisher: Vintage
Click here to purchase.

Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist


Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top