is an omnibus novel written by Sugar Ray Dodge
that splits into two story arcs
. The first is Happy Valley
, the original 2006 novel. The second is a trilogy of novelettes called Scruffy's Revenge
, written from 2009 through 2010. The original novel is an Affectionate Parody
of life in Utah
and Mormon Cinema
, while Scruffy's Revenge
takes a much darker, yet still humorous, tone.
Hal Harper is an independent filmmaker and Penny Garland is his beautiful, yet overbearing, über-Mormon fiancé. Max is her fat, dimwitted brother and Josey is her loyal minion. Penny’s Mom, who has a few screws loose, is convinced Hal isn’t good enough for her and will do anything to get between them. Simon Manners is a meddling returned missionary and Alexandra Lombardi is a redheaded distraction. Buddy Kennedy is an amoral businessman, MRV is a corrupt, jack-Mormon politician, and Scruffy is a deranged talking teddy bear with a passion for murder and cannibalism. Only in Happy Valley can these characters take you on a hilariously dark, yet touching journey that will teach you more about life in Utah than you ever thought possible.
This book contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Scruffy. See Also: Creepy Doll, Deadpan Snarker, and Perverse Puppet.
- Alliterative Name: Hal Harper
- Animal Motifs: Scruffy and Dr. Salamander.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Penny's Mom, MRV, OBB, Dr. Salamander and Scruffy.
- Blatant Lies: Dr. Salamander.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Scruffy's Revenge.
- Character Death: Every major villain dies by the last act of Scruffy's Revenge. Penny's Mom, MRV, OBB, and Dr. Salamander are all quite dead, with only Penny's Mom not dying at the hands of Alex and Scruffy. Scruffy's fate, however, is unknown.
- Downer Ending: Alex breaks Hal's heart at the end of Happy Valley, however, this is subverted with an Earn Your Happy Ending at the end of Scruffy's Revenge, after both Hal and Alex have become reformed-insane killers under the influence of Scruffy.
- Even Evil Has Standards: MRV while attempting to recruit Hal.
- Evil Incarnate: Scruffy. See Also: Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear.
- Good Is Not Nice: Arguably Hal.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Penny and Simon.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Hal and Buddy.
- Mind Screw: When Scruffy appears to Alex and the reader realizes that he is not a figment of Hal's imagination.
- Mood Whiplash: Constantly.
- Moral Guardian: Penny's Mom in spades.
- Put on a Bus: Gregor Smoot is the only significant character in Happy Valley to be neither seen or referenced in Scruffy's Revenge. However. At the end of Happy Valley Gregor left Hal a voice message saying that he went to work for Senator Orrin Hatch,. But this claim has little credibility since it was strongly suggested that Gregor suffered from pseudologia fantastica (aka compulsive lying.)
- Mormonism: Sort of. The book is more about Utah than it is about Mormonism, but the two naturally go hand-in-hand. Both Simon and Scruffy invoke Nephi's killing of Laban to justify murder, but Hal points out that this argument is invalid unless God commands you to kill.
- Literary Allusion Title
- Happy Valley
- Act One: Far Away In The West (LDS Hymn 'Come, Come Ye Saints)
- Act Two: And It Came To Pass
- Act Three: Secret Combinations
- Act Four: The Darkness Deepens (Christian Hymn 'Abide With Me')
- Act Five: Small And Simple Things
- Act Six: The Lights Along The Shore (Christian Hymn Hymn 'Let The Lower Lights Be Burning')
- Scruffy's Revenge
- Too Dumb to Live: Max.