You all know by now I’m a huge fan of C.S. Boyack. From the moment I read “The Hat”, I was hooked, and after “Viral Blues” I concurred that these stories about a snarky talking hat and his symbiotic friendship with ‘gal-with-a-heart-of-gold’ Lizzie St Laurent, were my favourite stories in Boyack’s impressive repertoire. So, when I learned about a new ‘hat’ installment, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney”, I was jazzed to say the least.
“Mrs Moloney” picks up where “Viral Blues” left off, with Lizzie and the Hat just doing their thing, working gigs, getting by, and obsessively shopping the internet for stuff a five-hundred-odd year old hat finds cool (forgive me if I’m off on the Hat’s age – his history is so damn rich it’s hard to keep track of his age, and you know, he hardly shows any wrinkles).
Lizzie and the Hat soon come across a sorry excuse for a vampire – Kevin – and after a few jests about the lad’s teeth (which makes me think he must have British ancestry), they decide to help the poor sod to find his sister who’s been kidnapped as take-out by a bunch of cowboy vampires. Sound weird? Yeah, well, it’s Boyack!
The story unfolds in an unhurried way, with Lizzie and her band taking on country music festivals and gigs to try and track down the vamps. This provides plenty of comedic fodder with lines like:
“Then we have their anthem, ‘Friends in Low Places.’ Believe me, play this one and they’ll all pay attention. They’ll all sing and give up on any riots they have on their minds. In fact, if you blow the lyrics, they won’t even notice because they’ll be singing them.”
Boyack does his usual excellent job of dropping music into the story (loving that ‘Bad Things’ got a mention), and again floors me with his acute understanding of the female brain (like Lizzie lamenting her ‘long face’ and how certain styles of hat don’t work for her). There’s humour aplenty, and though the Hat was a bit more grumpy (or morose) this go around, his and Lizzie’s relationship has really blossomed into a buddy cop relationship… or a long-suffering marriage. I can’t decide which.
Summing up, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney” is a great read, especially if you’re a fan of Lizzie and the Hat, and cements why these characters are my favourites in the Boyack universe.