For Los Angeles private eye Vincent Rubio, the idea of having a tail means a lot more than being followed. Vincent is a velociraptor, one of those little dinosaurs who caused so much panic in Jurassic Park. He keeps his tail tightly strapped up in the special latex costume that he wears to make himself look human.
In Eric Garcia's wild but winning first mystery, dinosaurs never did get wiped out--they evolved secretly and now make up about 5 percent of the world's population. There are dinosaur doctors, lawyers, even detectives like Rubio--although he's hit a low point in his own career because of the suspicious death of his beloved partner. Now the distraught Vincent sucks up so much basil that he can't do his job. But when a human who knows the dinosaurs' secret is killed during an arson fire at a popular dino disco called the Evolution Club, Rubio's luck begins to change. He starts to snoop, following the trail of a lovely human female to the office of Dr. Emil Vallardo, where bizarre experiments are being done on interspecies breeding between humans and dinosaurs. It's all great comic book fun, full of nice little inside jokes, served up deadpan and with full respect for the private eye genre it enlivens. --Dick Adler
From Publishers Weekly
Jonathan Lethem's 1995 PI spoof, Gun, with Occasional Music, featured a genetically altered, talking kangaroo hit man, but Vincent Rubio, the Los Angeles detective hero of Garcia's audacious and imaginative debut, would have him for lunch. Rubio is a dinosaurAspecifically, a Velociraptor, one of those deadly creatures who did so much damage in Jurassic Park. Garcia's outrageous conceit, beautifully supported by research and wit, is that dinosaurs never did become extinct. They secretly evolved and learned to coexist with an unsuspecting human population through an elaborate system of disguises and deceptions. (Those fossils that decorate most museums? Fakes left to fool gullible humans.) With the dinosaur community now about 5% of the human population, including doctors, cops and NFL players (most of them Brontosaurs), there should be plenty of work for a smart PI like Rubio. But ever since his beloved partner's death in a suspicious accident, the Raptor has been on a downslide. He hits the herbs too hard (his drug of choice is basil), and behaves so badly that even the nasty T-Rex who manages a large detective agency ("He had a sheep for breakfast," notes Rubio. "I can make out the fur on his molars") won't give him work. But in the true spirit of the genre, every dino dick gets a chance at redemption. Rubio's comes when he stumbles onto some top secret stuff about highly illegal mating between dinosaurs and humans. You might not believe any of this 30 seconds after you close the covers, and at odd moments the narrative veers into shtick, but while it's going on you're mostly going to be dazzled by Garcia's energy and chutzpah. Agent, Barbara Zitwer Alicea. Author tour. (Aug.)
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