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Casual Rex Hardcover – Mar 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Villard Books (Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679463070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679463078
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.4 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,997,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for Casual Rex

‘Unquestionably original… Here's a series with dino-sized legs’ Publishers Weekly

‘A prequel that's as daringly, darkly loopy as Anonymous Rex… In between satirizing mind-control, herd behavior, mass stupidity, dumb fashions, bloodlust, sex, and noir conventions, Garcia will have you panting over the veggie and spice displays for intoxicating, mood-altering whiffs of basil, cilantro, and even fenugreek’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Hip, knowing, and often very funny look at cults in La-La Land… This book is recommended as great fun’ Library Journal

‘Garcia's first novel became something of a cult item in its own right. Fans will be happy to know that Casual Rex delivers the goods again; it's funny enough to render the sophomore jinx extinct’

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Vincent Rubio, the hard-boiled, basil-addicted PI of 'Anonymous Rex', is busy on the blocks of Los Angeles with his partner, Ernie Watson. They've got the usual worries – bills, two-bit cases, woman troubles, but being dinosaurs is 'not' a problem, as long as their latex disguises stay put.

Not all dinosaurs agree. Some have joined a mysterious back-to-basic movement – led by a beautiful and beguiling Velociraptor – to help dinosaurs 'find' themselves, let their tails hang out, and roam about au naturel. When a member of this cult dies under suspicious circumstances, Vincent and Ernie are called in to investigate, while simultaneously handling the case of the missing Mussolini – the theft of rare and priceless prosthetic penis treasured in the dinosaur community.

With 'Casual Rex', Eric Garcia takes readers even more deeply into this warped underworld and succeeds in making it all believable. The result is a novel that is as hilarious and entertaining as it is original.

'A prequel that's as daringly, darkly loopy as 'Anonymous Rex'… In between satirising mind-control, herd behaviour, mass stupidity, dumb fashions, bloodlust, sex, and noir conventions, Garcia will have you panting over the veggie and spice displays for intoxicating, mood-altering whiffs of basil, coriander, and even fenugreek.'

'Unquestionable original… Here's a series with dino-sized legs.'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Improvisation is the modus operandi when you work with Ernie Watson. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By on 17 Sep 2001
Format: Hardcover
Set before Anonymous Rex, Casual takes us back to a time when Vincent and Ernie were bringing in the cases. If you've read Anonymous this can be slightly confusing - for anyone starting out, I would recommend starting with this one. Written in the style made familiar by Anonymous, Casual is a more light hearted read than it's predecessor (or is it sequel??), it's quite easy to get quite involved as the two P.I's get sucked into a religious cult intent on returning the dinosaurs to the top of the food chain...
Overall, a thouroughly enjoyable read, definitely to be read before Anonymous though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback
This novel has gotten a fair amount of hype - and, I would argue, deservedly so because it really is unusual, memorable, and well-written. I must admit I didn't find the book as funny as I expected it to be, however. Certainly, there is a lot of humor in these pages, but this is a much deeper story than the quirky farce I expected it to be - and that is actually a good thing. There is one scene in the book, for example, that really captures the heartrending pain of a father who has lost his only son to suicide - and the comical bits surrounding it only make it that much more touching and poignant.
Casual Rex is, first and foremost, a mystery - told in the classic first person, film noir-ish, hard-boiled private eye perspective. The kicker, though, is the fact that Vincent Rubio is a dinosaur - a Velociraptor, to be exact. It seems that dinosaurs survived the great cataclysm 65 million years ago, after all; they witnessed the rise of homo sapiens and now dwell among them (in much smaller bodies than their ancestors), their true identities hidden by elaborate guises involving lots of straps, buckles, and epoxy. No human knows that dinosaurs live among them, but the dinosaurs themselves can easily identify one another by smell. They can be found in every profession, so whenever one of their kind kicks the bucket, needs some dental work, or goes out looking for entertainment, they're taken care of outside the prying eyes of humans.
Victor and his partner Ernie are your basic PI's - snooping on roving spouses, hunting down prostitutes with sticky hands (wait a minute there - I'm talking about stealing), etc. That humdrum state of existence changes when Ernie's ex-wife asks them to find her brother and bring him home (forcibly, if necessary).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 July 2002
Format: Paperback
I didn't realise that Garcia had written a follow-up to the intriguing 'Anonymous Rex', so to stumble across 'Casual Rex' was a highlight of my day. A few clicks and 24hours later it was on the shelf waiting to be read, and when I picked it up I wasn't let down!
Like the first book the story unfolds through the eyes, ears and manly nose of loveable sarcastic Private eye Vincent Rubio. But this is the only link to the previous book, so don't be put off by its 'follow-on' tag. The only thing you need to worry about is that Vincent is a Dinosaur! A velociraptor to be precise. Except this and you find an interesting, primordial world under your very nose. The plot it's self is tried and tested detective stuff, two dino PI's investigate the local back to basics movement that's letting dinosaurs roam free from there human disguises. Average case really, but they always start that way! So the slippery slope starts and we find insights in to the world we live that you never knew existed. We get darker, deeper and funnier as the plot takes twist after turn in to the dinosaur mentality.
The best thing about this book is the writing style Garcia uses with constant humour, metaphor and sarcasm that allows a conceptual twist such as dinosaurs so plausible. The pages flow through a plot that would struggle without the dinos and the style of Garcia and Vincent.
Pleasure to read and a great conversation starter, "I'm reading a book where dinosaurs are still alive and living amongst us in latex suits!"...
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By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback
Casual Rex is a hardboiled PI tale with a twist -- the PIs are dinosaurs dressed in human costumes and they mostly deal with cases related to their brethren. Like the ancestors of humans, a handful of dinosaur species survived the major extinction event 65 million years ago that wiped most of them out. Over time they reduced in size and decided the easiest way to survive was to pass themselves off as humans, wearing realistic suits involving lots of straps and buckles. It’s a premise that kind of works as long as you don’t press on it all -- a whole series of logical questions would quickly bring the whole edifice down. The way Garcia keeps the illusion intact is to play the story pretty much straight-up, at least for the first half of the tale. Vincent and Ernie are two LA PIs, acting like fictional LA PIs alia dozens of such Chandler-inspired tales, albeit their clients tend to be other disguised dinosaurs. By centring the case around a cult, the Progressives, that advocate that dinosaurs shed their human guises, Garcia allows the premise to be explored a bit, though he still plays it quite straight. Indeed, the story is more quirky than funny, with the humour element quite underplayed until near the end and the final showdown. It took me some time to get in fully vested in the story, and it is only once it shifts to location to Hawaii that it really finds its groove. Overall, an interesting and entertaining tale that gets better as it progresses.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Dino Noir - Part 2 2 Jun 2002
By Bruce Crocker - Published on
Format: Paperback
Vincent Rubio is a velociraptor and private investigator working in Los Angeles. If that sentence doesn't sound a bit off to you, then you should read Casual Rex by Eric Garcia. Casual Rex is the second book about Vincent Rubio, P.I., but takes place before the story told in the first book, Anonymous Rex. Vincent and his partner Ernie take on the Progressives, a church/cult that sounds a lot like a religion based in Hollywood, California that attracts some very famous people crossed with the Church Universal and Triumphant. Figuring out this alternative world where dinosaurs didn't go extinct and disguise themselves as humans isn't difficult. Even though Casual Rex and Anonymous Rex have been marketed mainly as mysteries, I think SF fans and dino fans will find a lot to like Mr. Garcia's weird world. I enjoyed Casual Rex even more than Anonymous Rex and look forward to Hot And Sweaty Rex when it comes out. I read paperback copies of both books so that I could preserve my first printing hardbacks in mint condition. I'm betting that Mr. Garcia's early books in the Rex series will be highly collectible, not that my opinion is worth all that much. About my book collecting habit...don't ask, don't ask.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Prequel's Finally Better 3 Nov 2004
By Mr. Mischief - Published on
Format: Paperback
After just picking up Anonymous Rex because the cover caught my eye, I was surprised to find out how witty and well written it is, despite the fact that sci-fi novels really never seem to be good readin'. As you could imagine, I just had to pick up the next one (or in this case, the one before it). This book is truly the work of an articulate marvel. The innuendos and hardened, realistic characters make them seem like everyday joes (pfft, please), in an everyday world (I restate my previous comment). Follow your nose (more than one pun intended, catch them?) to your nearest bookstore to get this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Garcia is the best dino-noir writer ever!! 17 April 2001
By Jelly Troll Morton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Casual Rex has as interesting a set of characters as The Maltese Pterodactyl, has a plot as intricately woven as the storyline of The Big Extinction, and is as gritty as I the Jurrasic. It's even a better read than Anonymous Rex, which I also rate at five stars.
My one problem with the book was that there were three places in the book where the author was inconsistent in his use of dinosaur species. It bothered me, but when I mention these sort of nits to most people they look at me funny. Oh, well, I guess that's my problem. Us Iguanadons are like that...
Good Prequel to Anonymous Rex 13 Jun 2009
By David - Published on
Format: Paperback
While Casual Rex was written after Anonymous Rex it is a prequel as opposed to a sequel. That said you don't absolutely have to read Anonymous Rex first although I would reccomend it. It's not that there's anything in the first one that sets up the second one and actually you might be better off reading Casual first but I always like to read things in the order in which they were intended. That said you really can go either way.

The premise is simple: Dinosaurs did not go extinct millions of years ago like everyone thought. A number of species survived and they decided that they needed to keep their existence a secret from humans which they do through the use of specially designed disguises. There's an entire dinosaur subculture out there including clubs, councils, and hospitals all devoted entirely to dinos that we mammals are unaware of.

Our heros, Ernie and Vincent, are Private Investigators brought in to investigate the dissapearance of a dinosaur (Ernie's former brother in law) due to his involvement in "The Progressives," a back-to-nature type dinosaur cult. They find him, find the progressives and a bunch of things happen from there.

On the surface it's a fairly straight-forward detective story with a lot of interesting twists and turns, enough to keep you interested. The real selling point, however, is the whole dinosaur twist which is deeper and more complex than you can imagine. A lot of attention is payed toward setting up the "reality." There are several dinosaur councils in the country and the world which monitor dinosaur behavior and set forth rules and punishments for violating said rules. There are numerous celebrities and historical figures who apparently were dinosaurs which our hero, Vincent, will casually throw out there ala "Napoleon was just a Compy with a height complex." And so on and so forth. Like any book though there are pros and cons:


Pretty well-written. The title/concept might lead one to believe that this is glorified fan fiction written by an amateur. Untrue. Despite the silliness the book is very well-written. There are a ton of metaphors and it is written with a bit of a "film noir" sort of feeling to it and it all comes together quite well, especially seeing as it is written in the first person perspective (Vincen'ts) of which fewer and fewer books seem to be written these days.

So much attention to Dinosaur detail is what makes this book work for me. Ironically without the dinosaur twist this book would be kind of a carbon copy of any of a thousand run of the mill detective storys. WITH the dinosaur aspect it takes on a whole new theme, albeit a ridiculous one. The whole dinosaur culture that Garcia created is very intricately thought out to the last detail. You'll learn about the dinosaur hospitals, police force, how they deal with their dead, the dinosaur councils, etc etc etc. You need to suspend disbelief and just accept the "reality" that the books is presenting you. Don't get hung up on asking "but how do they... how come no one ever sees... but what about the..." sort of questions. It's a silly, unbelieveable concept but if you can just go with it, it works.

The dinosaur cult is a pretty interesting idea and is such a thinly veiled poke at scientology that you have to laugh (although I'm sure scientologists weren't amused). Right down to the machine that the dinosaurs use to test their "natural percentage." Cults are always interesting to read about because a normal person laughs at how ridiculous they are. This is no exception. The scientol- I mean, the "Progressives" are hilarious.


Really just one downside: The story is completely ridiculous. This will turn off potential readers and will alienate potential readers. However, if you spend 20 seconds reading the back cover then you sort of know what you're in store for. Again, just "go with it" and you can enjoy yourself.

There are three books in this series and each one is enjoyable. It's not Shakespeare but it's also not trying to be. It has its own identity and all the pieces mesh well if you can get into it. If you like goofy, offbeat sorts of books then give this one a try. If you read and enjoyed Anonymous Rex then this one is not a let down either.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5 stars 25 July 2004
By David M - Published on
Format: Paperback
Garcia's 2nd dino novel out shines the pervious Anonymous Rex. His witty writing style is perfect and the plot is original.
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