Transcendent parody from Rankin (The Toyminator, 2006, etc.).
Jonny Hooker—a musician whose invisible childhood companion, Mr. Giggles the Monkey Boy, stubbornly refused to vanish when Jonny grew up—floats headless in a London park pond. A week previously, he received a mysterious letter declaring him to be a WINNER. Before claiming his prize, however, he must solve the musical code of the title. Feeling unaccountably optimistic, Jonny goes to the very pub where blues legend Robert Johnson recorded a song; unfortunately, the recording also captured the Devil's laughter, so anybody that hears it dies. Later, Jonny sees a child drowning in the same pond where he is eventually found, but when he splashes in to make the rescue there's nobody there; men in white coats haul him off to the hospital, where he escapes through an evil psychiatrist's office window. Soon the doctor turns up dead (headless). Jonny meets park ranger Charlie Hawtrey, whose twin brother Hari is a prisoner in the same hospital; oddly, Charlie also saw the drowning child. Meanwhile, Jonny learns of the Air Loom Gang, who, since the 18th century, have been magnetizing people and exerting thought control. The owner of the printing press where the WINNER letter was produced turns up dead (headless), his recording of Johnson's song missing. Jonny discovers he's been magnetized, and starts lining his cap with tinfoil…and then there’s Elvis, flying saucers from hell and much more.
Downright obnoxious once or twice, amusing about as often, but nearly always clever and witty: Well worth a try, though Rankin's in no danger of knocking fantasy-comedy maestro Terry Pratchett off his perch anytime soon.