Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly clever, strikingly imaginative - two claws up all the way
Forget everything you know about dinosaurs. Not only did they not become extinct 65 million years ago, they currently make up about 5% of the "human" population. Rather than stomp all of us humans out of existence eons ago, they decided just to live in our world secretly (they have much smaller bodies than their ancestors), donning complex human guises involving lots of...
Published on September 16, 2005 by Daniel Jolley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspense of disbelief has its limits.
First, the good words: These two novels are well written overall, and can be very entertaining for anyone who is willing to just politely overlook the massive employment of "toon physics" inherent in the major preconception underlying them. The plots move along nicely, the mysteries are unfolded in a manner that doesn't rely on the dreaded Thing Only The...
Published 9 months ago by R. Ault


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly clever, strikingly imaginative - two claws up all the way, September 16, 2005
This review is from: Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus (Paperback)
Forget everything you know about dinosaurs. Not only did they not become extinct 65 million years ago, they currently make up about 5% of the "human" population. Rather than stomp all of us humans out of existence eons ago, they decided just to live in our world secretly (they have much smaller bodies than their ancestors), donning complex human guises involving lots of straps, buckles, and epoxy. You'd be amazed at just how many celebrities and power brokers are actually dinosaurs in disguise. All they want is to keep their secret, find the time and opportunity to really be themselves every now and again, and maybe get a good buzz on with basil or certain other herbs if and when the urge strikes. They live by two golden rules: never let a human learn their secret (and kill any who do) and never, ever, ever engage in interspecies relations with a human.

With Anonymous Rex, author Eric Garcia first brought this strange new world to life, garnering critical acclaim and a cult following for his efforts. He is a brilliantly wicked author, packing loads of comedy into noir-ish tales of dinosaur private investigator Vincent Rubio. Poor Vince has had a rough nine months. It all started when his partner Ernie was run over by a taxi in New York. Vince went a little nuts after that, broke a lot of rules and at least one nose during his investigation of the accident, and got himself declared dinosaur non grata in both New York and back home in Los Angeles. He is in an emotional and financial tailspin, nursing a major basil addiction and basically trying to find a reason to keep on keeping on. With little left to his name, he finally gets a case thrown his way, an insurance job investigating a fire at a local dino club. As luck would have it, the club owner had important contacts in New York, and before you can say Velociraptor, Vince is back in the Big Apple conducting interviews for a case that may well have some relation to his partner's death.

This thing gets pretty involved, as a simple case of possible arson soon leads Vince into a conspiracy of dinosaur-sized proportions involving human-dinosaur genetic experimentation. Slowly but surely, Vince starts assembling the pieces of the puzzle, but progress doesn't come without setbacks - a couple of attempts on his life, some inconvenient deaths of informants and friends, a serious lack of funds, and even a dangerous relationship with a singularly appealing human female. Danger is Vince's middle name, however, and in time he breaks out of his emotional funk, manages to stay away from basil long enough to clear his head, and relentlessly pursues a solution to a surprisingly complex mystery.

The book is written in first person, in the classic style of ye olde detective mysteries from the golden age of Dashiell Hammett and Sam Spade. And make no mistake - aside from the unique dinosaur angle and the constant showcase of sarcastic wit and genuinely funny writing, Garcia knows how to construct and tell a good mystery. Anonymous Rex is a thoroughly engaging read from start to finish. There's an edge to this story, a fair share of surprises along the way, and all sorts of social commentary you can ponder or simply ignore. If you've been yearning for something different, Vincent Rubio, P.I., is on the case, and the game's afoot.

Casual Rex is Garcia's second "Rex" novel, but it is actually a prequel to Anonymous Rex. Victor and his partner Ernie are your basic PI's - snooping on roving spouses, hunting down petty thieves, etc. Their humdrum state of existence changes when Ernie's ex-wife asks them to find her brother and bring him home (forcibly, if necessary). It seems the poor kid has gotten all caught up in a dino cult called the Progressives. Most dinosaurs have accepted the fact that they have to go to great pains to pass themselves off as humans, but some yearn for the old lifestyle of complete dino freedom. Vic and Ernie infiltrate the cult and get their man - but that's just the beginning of the story. There's something really sinister going on here, and our detective heroes are determined to find out just what the Progressives are up to. Their mission eventually leads them to a back-to-nature retreat in the islands of Hawaii, where they learn even more than they bargained for about the cult.

The fact that Casual Rex wasn't quite as funny as I expected it to be is certainly not a bad thing. It does, after all, deal with such serious issues as drug abuse (ah, sweet basil), cults, murder, and your proverbial world domination and genocide - as well as friendship, honor, and humanity (or whatever the dinosaur equivalent of that would be). Garcia's writing style remains delightfully quirky, the absurdist setting is effectively presented (with explanations of dinosaur culture over the millennia enriched by rich and numerous off-the-cuff remarks), the action is well-paced, the tragedies that take place over the course of the novel are surprisingly poignant, and a rising level of suspense (not to mention curiosity) definitely draws the reader in and carries him/her all the way to the end.

This Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex omnibus places Casual Rex in front of Anonymous Rex, which is fine if you want to read the prequel first. If you'd rather read the two books in the order of publication, though, be sure to start with Anonymous Rex.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How well do you really know your Neighbors?, February 5, 2005
By 
This review is from: Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus (Paperback)
When I first saw this book on the shelves I was skeptical. This is because after having read many science fiction books over the years I have seen many a good concept turned in to utter garbage and also have fallen victim more than once to a clever title that masked a used ream of toilet tissue. Needless to say I had discovered that clever titles equal bad books. So originally I shied away from this one; at first. The last week I decided to pick it up and read it. Imagine my shock that such a puny title could mask such a gem. The hallmark of good science fiction is an original twist on reality in some remotely plausible way and Garcia pulls this off.

The premise is that not all dinosaurs went extinct because of the great fire showers. Some of them survived and evolved to smaller forms in order to live in the new world. They also discovered a bunch of ground dwelling apes that were barely sentient but did have one solid trait; they believed in helping other species go extinct. So the surviving dinos learn to dress up like humans and blend end. Now fast forward a million decades or so and you got the P.I. firm of Watson and Rubio. Ernie Watson and Vincent Rubio are dinos. From here there is an investigation of a dino naturalist cult in the first book, Casual rex which is actually the second book but a prequel so it comes first in this omnibus. In the second book but first book, Anonymous Rex, Vincent is dealing with a drug habit and Ernie's death which leads him to discover some nefarious experimenting and clandestine humans. The rest I suggest you read for your self.

These books were engrossing and I really couldn't put them down. Garcia's writing style is a humorous twist on film noir. All of the characters are fully developed with the exception of a few compys but then they are compys. Garcia is able to make it all seem feasible, realistic and more importantly he is able to draw you into the story. You really start to feel for Vincent and the others.

Read this omnibus or the books individually. You will not regret it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You gotta read it to believe it!, April 9, 2006
This review is from: Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus (Paperback)
Eric Garcia has created a world that, bar none, is one of the most novel I have had the fortune to step into during all the years I have been reading. The premise of his noir-ish detective stories, told - of course - first-person by Vincent Rubio, is that all dinosaurs did NOT become extinct 65 million years ago; in fact, 16 species survived, mutated and now live among us, disguised as humans (apparently with the use of lots of high-stress girdles, buckles and epoxy). Garcia presents this so matter-of-factly that while reading, you just go with it - maybe once you have put the book down and are thinking about it, you might go "hey, waitaminute," but while reading the book he makes it seem eminently plausible.

This omnibus presents the first two books in the series in chronological order, rather than publication date so "Casual Rex" is actually first up. Rubio's partner Watson's ex-wife comes to them for help - her brother is part of a strange cult and she wants them to get him out. So, they go out and infiltrate the cult, with equal measures of comic and horrific results. I won't go into any more details as to what happens here, or to any of the other events of the story so as to avoid ruining it for you, but this story is actually quite humorous in many places while having a darker core as well. "Anonymous Rex" is a slightly different matter - from what I could piece together, it takes place about 9 months after the end of the previous book (I believe the case referenced is the case that Watson was leaving to investigate at the end of that book); Watson has been killed - supposedly in a hit-and-run by a taxi in New York. Rubio has gone on a serious bender with the basil and is refusing to buy the story about what happened with Watson and as a result has just about burned all his bridges and lost most of his business. Things are looking really bleak when he gets thrown a bone by one of the big companies in town - which seems to lead right back to the case that Watson was investigating when he was killed. Although this story is a bit darker, it provides quite a number of laugh-out-loud moments as well, and both of the stories are also well-crafted mysteries at their base.

Take this trip inside the mind of a truly creative writer. You will NOT regret it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Original and yet Classic, July 16, 2009
This review is from: Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus (Paperback)
A coworker loaned me this book and I am really glad she did. Eric Garcia has created a world in which dinosaurs are still among us (and he outs a whole bunch of famous names), only they have trussed themselves up in human "guises" and work and walk in the modern world. He makes it work, as a matter of fact he makes it seem all too plausible and pretty soon you just take it as a given.

The voice Garcia gives Vincent Rubio, his first person protagonist, is original, fresh, engaging and very comfortable. I can't wait to read "Hot and Sweaty Rex" as soon as possible.

Five stars are tough for me to hand out, but I came close with this one. If there was a way to do four and a half, I woulda done it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Suspense of disbelief has its limits., February 25, 2014
This review is from: Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus (Paperback)
First, the good words: These two novels are well written overall, and can be very entertaining for anyone who is willing to just politely overlook the massive employment of "toon physics" inherent in the major preconception underlying them. The plots move along nicely, the mysteries are unfolded in a manner that doesn't rely on the dreaded Thing Only The Protagonist Knew, the author doesn't have his characters yank a Get Out Of Jail Free Card from their shorts every time the plot gets knotted, and a whole lot of people are going to find these both very satisfying as mysteries and screamingly funny at times as well. And that's good, because I'd like to see more books from this author after he gets past the dinosaur phase. (And please, please, please, Eric, if you're listening, let's not take a stroll down Zombie Lane; that place has been trampled into a pulp already, and there's just nothing left to say that most of us want to hear.)
That said, there are things that went CLANK! for me all over these books, and they all had to do with the core precept; that things like a T-Rex could masquerade as human, and had been doing so since the dawn of the genus Homo, without us betting wind of it. This, as a concept, requires not just suspension of disbelief, but hanging it by the neck until dead, dissecting the corpse, putting its vitals in canopic jars, and mummifying the remains for display as proof that disbelief is eternal and shall rise pristine when the day comes. Between the toon physics required to explain the "guises" (in particular, how those massive tails could have been hidden and how those decidedly un-human heads could have been reshaped) and the various other issues surrounding the matter, disbelief kept running off into a corner and hiding way too often while reading these. It just wasn't up to the job for me. But then, I'm the kind of person who looks at a difficult project and asks "OK, how could I do that?". When the answer is "Without magic, there's just no way!", the question becomes moot. Imagine a space elevator based on a carbon-nanotube cable? It's a mere matter of a bit more materials engineering than we know how to do at present. Put a human-looking mask on a Coelophysis that allows its jaws and eyes to function? Not a chance. (And then there's the long neck...) I can put up with vampires, reanimated corpses, FTL spaceships, and a lot of other impossible technobabble and mythlore with little more than a nod to their necessity to a given plot. But try to get me to believe that a T-Rex tail can be folded up inside a human suit *at all*, and the whole mess goes south. Ana tomically, no matter how much you try to claim "they've been forcing their own evolution along for millions of years so that they'd be able to do that when they presciently needed to" just stretches far too many things well past the breaking point. And that's why even though I was able to enjoy these two stories, I can't give them more than threestars. The next-of-kin of disbelief would have its entire town's population outside my door with torches and pitchforks to avenge its deceased relative if I didn't admit there was a BIG problem in that area.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus
Anonymous Rex/Casual Rex Omnibus by Eric Garcia (Paperback - November 1, 2004)
$35.00 $25.27
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.