Loved by all in the fairy tale kingdom bordering New Never City, it’s a mystery how Cinderella managed to get herself run over by the cross town Fairy Second Street bus on a beautiful sunny morning. One of her so-called ugly stepsisters, the gorgeous curvy redheaded Asia, is convinced of foul play, and she calls upon the famed Inspector Holmes to help her investigate the crime. Unfortunately, she instead hires the villainous RJ, current resident of Sherlock’s apartment, what with the detective himself being stuffed up the chimney.
RJ, villain-for-hire (and otherwise known as Rumple Stiltskin, though he avoids the moniker), is presently forced to acquiesce to every request he receives, for help or otherwise, as he has been cursed by the Villain’s Union. Though in his usual state he might have agreed to help Asia just to stay close to her leather-clad sexy princess persona, he can’t help but agree to accompany her to the crime scene (a swirl of sugar and spice in the air, as that’s what girls are made of) and then to Cinderella’s kingdom to continue the investigation.
Author J.A. Kazimer continues muddling and mixing up all sorts of familiar fairy tales, putting a decidedly adult spin on a world of fable and story telling. Prince Charming, Cinderella’s former fiancé, bats for the other team, while Hansel and the oven-pushing witch are in an S&M relationship. Dru, the second ugly stepsister, has an unusual amount of facial hair, making her the least-desirable of the sisters, and prompting her to visit the frog pond in the nearby fairytale woods to kiss every amphibian she can catch, just in case one turns into Mr. Right.
Uncouth, violent, foul-mouthed—and that’s just the protagonist of Curses!—RJ and Asia comb the kingdom for clues about Cinderella’s untimely end, and Kazimer seems to be chuckling from the sidelines about all the ways our notions about the workings of this twisted Never Never Land are getting jerked around. It turns out that Asia herself has a hidden curse, and RJ has a villainous (not to mention voluptuous) ex-wife who shows up as an inconvenient distraction from his budding romance with the red-headed stepsister.
Despite himself, RJ gets emotionally involved with the complexity of a magic kingdom where the King and Queen are determined to kill each other, Prince Charming will sign up to marry any available princess while making passes at RJ or other convenient bachelors, and bluebirds accompany the scent of cocoa at most crime scenes. Chock-a-block with nursery rhyme characters gone wrong, some of the most creatively messed up metaphors you’ve ever read, and racy to boot, Kazimer has created a demented storybook world that will make anyone with a funny bone howl.
Kazimer seems to have a franchise in the works, centering around New Never City and its environs, with a New Never News blog for news items related to the fairy tale realm and an associated Twitter account @NewNeverNews. The second book in the F***ed Up Fairy Tale series, Froggy-style, is due out in 2013.