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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different beast to Anonymous Rex..., 17 Sep 2001
This review is from: Casual Rex (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
4.0 out of 5 stars The ingeniously weird prequel to Anonymous Rex, 5 Aug 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Casual Rex (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). 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, free of their human guises and able to kick back and do the kinds of things the dinosaur ancestors used to do (much of which involves the free use of a lot of very sharp teeth). 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 - I didn't really expect much of a plot, so I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of meat to this story. 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). The writing style is 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. Be forewarned, though: if you read one of Eric Garcia's novels, you will very likely want to read them all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars chinatown meets jurrasic park, 26 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Casual Rex (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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Casual Rex
Casual Rex by Eric Garcia (Hardcover - Mar 2001)
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