Percy Gloom lives with his mother, an inventor. His father, a Gloom, killed himself with the Gloom death-slap shortly before he was born. All his life, Percy Gloom has dreamt of writing cautionary advisories on products -- WARNING, DO NOT STICK HAIRBRUSH IN EAR -- and when the story opens, he's finally gotten a chance to interview for a position doing just that.
Lazy-eyed, balding, jug-eared Percy sets off in his fedora and pedal car to interview for the job, but he's sidetracked by his hunger, which can only be satisfied by muffins and lemon juice. In town, he meets a whole cast of characters, some nice and some terrible, and ends up with an infected foot jammed in his mouth.
Percy's troubles have just started, and as the story unfolds, we get more of his backstory -- very unhappy indeed -- and life inside the cautionary writing company, and a city in the grips of a death-eating immortality cult.
This all has the charm of something like Howl's Moving Castle or Yellow Submarine, and Percy and his friends are drawn in a lovely, old-timey way that made me smile on every page. This is a big, solid, handsome hardcover that sells for $13 on Amazon, a stellar deal.