4/5 stars

Chris Harrison follows up ‘We Are Toten Herzen’ with the next book in the series – ‘Toten Herzen Malandanti’, a comedic tale of the band’s adventures deep in the heart of the English Lake District.  As well as witty interactions between the band members, the reader is entertained by Lena, leader of the Malandanti witches, Raven the wannabe vampire, Rose Pursey and her lawsuit, ex-Manager Micky Redwall and his secrets, loquacious ovines, and a lost valley.  These are just some of the shenanigans associated with the band this time as they try to shoot a promotional film and record their latest album.

Mr Harrison is obviously as fond of the Lake District as I am; his beautiful descriptions of the lakes, hills, peaks and valleys made me feel I was there, and brought to mind happy times I have spent there in the past.

The author has also added in some of that dry British humour that particularly appeals to me.  I especially enjoyed reading the chapters regarding wannabe vampire Raven and her serious digestive issues, and those of Toten Herzen’s bored drummer Rene and his adventures in the hillsides with unsuspecting campers and several talking sheep.  Especially entertaining was Lena’s performance as she raises Micky Redwall from the dead, eager to know the secret he has kept for forty years regarding the location of the lost valley where her witches wish to reside.

All this and more adds up to an enjoyable story topped off with an awesome mountaintop gig, which is only mildly clouded by a few editing issues along the way.  Read the latest Toten Herzen story and escape from reality into that lost valley, if only for a short while.