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Anonymous Rex: A Detective Story Hardcover – July 27, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (July 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375503269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375503269
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,946,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on February 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The hero of "Anonymous Rex," the novel by Eric Garcia, is a private investigator named Vincent Rubio. But there's a twist to this detective story. Vincent is a dinosaur--a raptor, to be specific. He lives in a world in which dinosaurs never went extinct--instead, they evolved into human-sized intelligent beings. The dinos live intermingled in the human population, wearing ingenious prosthetic disguises that allow them to masquerade as humans.
Vincent is contracted to investigate a suspicious fire, and this leads him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, sex, and weird science. Garcia has taken a great concept and used it to create a fun, exciting story. "Anonymous" has something in common with narratives like the Harry Potter saga, which similarly postulates a "hidden" world which coexists with our mundane human world. Despite this common theme, however, Garcia's book is fresh and unique.
Garcia creates compelling characters and throws in some intriguing twists. His writing is clever and witty, and he fleshes out this bizarre concept in a rich and satisfying way. Along the way he tackles some "real world" issues such as drug abuse, forbidden sex, social control, and personal identity. This is a wild and wondrous story that leaves me eager for a sequel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Cross an apex predator with Sam Spade, spend a lot of evolutionary time reading Raymond Chandler and you have a serviceable approximation of Vincent Rubio, the hero and protagonist of this story.
But that's just a hint of the fun to come. There's action, sleuthing, wise-cracking, science, sleaze and high society along with a clever plot and our hero moves deftly through it with a lot of grace for a guy with a tail and wearing a girdle.
The pre-quel, 'Casual Rex' is in the works, by the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Suntree on November 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up feeling unsure about how to approach the whole concept (a dinosaur detective?) but since it came to me highly recommended I brought it home and decided to give it a try. From the very first sentence I was immediately pulled in, and I ended up devouring it in 2 days. Garcia's writing is quirky, delightful, and strange; an odd mix of satire and seriousness. Here you will find all the elements reminicent of the 1940's film noir genre: the wise-cracking detective, disillusioned and down on his luck, the sultry singer who is both a suspect and a romantic interest, and an underground world of secrets and intrigue. Garcia pulls out all the old cliches and gives them a clever twist: this is LA cofidential meets the X-files.
It is a joy to tag along with velociraptor Vincent Rubio, to feel both the suspense and humor in moments such as when he gets his tail hopelessly caught in his human disguise and fears discovery, or when he calmly attempts to talk his way out of death and danger. Garcia's language is never boring, never too frilly, and always keeps readers on their toes. Vincent talks to his invisible "audience" in the manner of a friend relaying a strange-but-true tale, and Garcia fills his writing with interesting metaphors that paint a vibrant and funny world. I especially enjoyed the way each dinosaur was able to recognize another of their (disguised) kind through their sense of smell. Every dino has a scent, some like "children's cough syrup" and others like "a pleasant mixture of carnations and old baseball gloves."
This is an unusual and enjoyable book for mystery fans, sci-fi fans, or anyone who is willing to appoach it with an open mind. We may be seeing more of Vincent Rubio soon, and not just in a sequel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'll never look at herbs the same way again.
When I first picked up ANONYMOUS REX, it sounded a bit daffy to me - dinosaurs weren't extinct and lived among us. Granted, you have to get used to the idea that the main character in the book, Vincent Rubio, is a Velociraptor in disguise - a human "guise" as dinos call it. It seems that over decades, dinosaurs became smaller and decided to get along with humans, instead of wiping us out. How nice of them. Along the way, they figured out how to make guises so a human couldn't tell the difference. But dinosaurs can; each one has a distinct odor that identifies them - this is how dinos tell who's human and who's not. They even faked dinosaur fossils to fool humans into thinking they'd indeed become extinct a long time ago.
Back to Vincent - he's a private detective who's dealing with his partner's "accidental" death. This happened while they were working on a big case involving the murder of a dino who'd committed a big no-no: sexual relations with a human. Because of Vincent's insistence it wasn't an accident, he blew it big-time, lost his contract with the PI firm he worked for, got kicked off the Council (the dinosaur consortium that keeps everyone in line) and lost himself in a daze of herbs, especially basil - herbs make dinosaurs high and each dino has their favorite "drug."
Vincent suddenly gets a freelance job to investigate a Los Angeles nightclub fire. The job comes from the same PI firm that blacklisted him. He needs the dough, so he takes the job and soon finds there's a connection between the fire and the case he and his partner worked on.
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