He’s back and things are still not going well for Tony Vicar.
In his debut book The Liquor Vicar, former Spirit of the West drummer, vocalist and manager Vince Ditrich introduced readers to an unlucky musician, DJ and Elvis impersonator who suddenly endowed himself with mysterious powers.
Able in some way to alter the fates of those he meets, the hapless Tony Vicar wants to live only a quiet life in the once boring town of Tyee Lagoon on Vancouver Island, which now attracts all kinds of strange visitors.
Alas, it will not be his fate.
In The Vicar’s PantiesThe second in a planned trilogy, Ditrich takes us on a whirlwind tour of the peculiar village and its people, from familiar sidekicks Ross Poutine, the liquor store owner, to Tony’s girlfriend and efficient stooge Jacquie O , along with members of the band, including the perpetually stoned Farley and the awakened but unawakened drummer Cosmic Ray.
There are new faces too: Merri, whose deadly food emporium “Hot Thoth” tempts visitors, and Ann Tenna, a waitress whose “unfiltered speech” makes the air blue at every opportunity. (Really, how can these characters not be taken from Ditrich’s real life?)
Added to this is Richard (Dick) Dick, a selfish and annoying tabloid reporter who laments the day he was assigned to cover Tony’s rise to superhero fame. And he’s going to do anything to prove Tony isn’t an upstanding citizen.
The Vicar’s Knickers of the title is the stately rough-hewn wooden drawing room inside the Agincourt, the dilapidated former hotel Tony bought with the proceeds of his inheritance depicted in The Vicar of Liquors.
Tony’s plans for the Agincourt include a restaurant that would serve decent food, unlike others on Vancouver Island, such as: a few months into their overly optimistic leases. There had been one who specialized in things like kale salads, eggplant parmigiana, and a few bitter herb clippings called arugula, a name that better suited a vegetarian vampire. Apparently they served food, but it was all plants.
Yearning for greatness and to finally achieve some sense of normality, Tony comes up with ideas to renovate the hotel and run it with his coterie of friends, truly putting Tyee Lagoon on the map.
And he does, but not in the way he expected. Something happened in the hotel in 1970, and to someone named Larry Kaminski in particular. As a result, there’s a weird vibe in Room 222 (not the old TV show), and it seems only Tony can glimpse what’s really going on.
As if that weren’t enough, Tony’s nemesis Serena resurfaced undetected, with a little surprise for Tony and Jacquie to deal with. Is Tony ready to prove his protective instinct?
When the myriad subplots collide, things take a decidedly serious and deadly turn when Dick Dick plays his trump card. Can Tony possibly save everyone – and himself – again?
It helps when you have superpowers, especially ones you don’t know you have.
Filled with biting satire and social commentary, The Vicar’s Panties is a delight for words, weaving a convoluted story of mystery, the supernatural, love… and fried chicken.
If only someone could figure out why the moose was driving the car.
Chris Rutkowski is a Winnipeg writer with an affinity for Vancouver Island madness.