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Anonymous Rex: A Detective Story
Eric Garcia
Villard Books, 277 pages

Anonymous Rex
Eric Garcia
Eric Garcia is a 26 year-old writer from Miami. He attended Cornell University and the University of Southern California, where he majored in film and creative writing. He lives outside Los Angeles with his wife, Sabrina, and his dachshund, Oliver, and is at work on his second novel, Casual Rex.

Anonymous Rex Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Ernest Lilley

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Vince Rubio is a classic LA Private Investigator. He's also a dinosaur, though not exactly a fossil.

I don't mean that he's obsolete. I mean he's a Velociraptor.

Aside from that, Anonymous Rex is straight Hard Boiled Detective Fiction. It's got a cynical first person narrative, a torchy nightclub singer, a fair amount of kinky and/or forbidden sex and a powerful conspiracy trying to keep out of the light.

Vince's partner got killed while investigating a spectacular murder a year before the story starts. In true genre form, he started a downward spiral into herbal (Basil) oblivion and bankruptcy. Now a nightclub owner's lying crisped in LA County hospital because he wouldn't leave the burning club, and Vincent gets the job of checking it out for the insurance company. A crummy job, but his breadbox is bare. Soon the trail leads him to New York and back to the case that made him persona non grata with the dinosaur council, when his partner got "accidentally" run over by a cab and Vince wouldn't lay off. Now he's back in the Big Apple and the deeper he digs, the worse things smell, and the more people die to hide a secret even bigger than the simple fact that dinosaurs are in our midst.

In Garcia's world, the dinosaurs didn't completely die out 65 million years ago, though there was a big die off. Evidently, plenty of saurians survived but for reasons left unsaid, they decided to go undercover. If you remember the TV movie/series V, you'll remember the creepy lizardy aliens with thin skins of latex that would occasionally get ripped off. Here, under latex disguises, about 10% of the world has 100% dino DNA... and keeping it under their hats. Garcia isn't especially concerned with the paleontology of the story, but he's covered himself by pointing out that fossil planting and obfuscation has been a grand dino tradition for ages. So what if he insists on referring to Apatosauruses as Brontosaurs? If you can believe that a dino can wrap himself (or herself) up in latex and pass for human, credibility clearly isn't a problem for you.

Does this make it Science Fiction? Well, the bottom line is that it's not really SF, and you'll probably find it in the Fiction/Literature section because it's a little too offbeat for Mystery.

Evidently Eric Garcia just thought it would be fun to write a hardboiled dino detective story and spice it up with some interspecies sex. Though it's occasionally funny, and occasionally clever, it's not a great piece of detective fiction, and it leans too heavily on the dino device for support. It's almost good enough, but failed to quite captivate me. As a paperback, it might be worth rambling through, but it lacks the compelling draw of Raymond Chandler or the offbeat post-modern synergy of Jonathan Lethem's Gun, With Occasional Music.

Copyright © 2000 Ernest Lilley

Ernest Lilley is the Editor and Publisher of SFRevu, a monthly 'zine for science fiction reviews, news and interviews. It can be found at http://www.sfrevu.com.


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