In my opinion, all good novels have a twist. Whether it’s a case of mistaken identities, a long buried secret, or a suppressed desire threatening to disrupt a peaceful equilibrium only revealed in the final pages, I want my books to pull the rug out from under me. Obviously, I have no trouble finding books that provide me with these types of plot twists and character traits, because they’re literally everywhere. What I was not aware of, when I came across it a few weeks ago, was a series of books that takes the “things aren’t always what they seem” trope and multiplies it by, like, a million. The Anonymous Rex series, by Eric Garcia, follows Vicent Rubio, a Los Angeles detective who is also, wait for it…a Velociraptor. Rubio’s LA is teeming with dinosaurs who, after having faked their extinction, now disguise themselves in cleverly crafted latex costumes and live among us. Believable enough, right? The plot boasts standard mystery fodder; there’s a case of arson, a blonde bombshell, and a drug addiction (in this case it’s basil, which apparently does the trick for dinos), the only difference is the prehistoric cast.
While it’s easy enough to laugh off the so-called “Dino Mafia” genre, the reader reviews and author recommendations suggest that perhaps the series is worth a read (Garcia is, after all, the author of the wildly popular Matchstick Men, later turned into a blockbuster starring Nic Cage). In her review of Rex, EW’s Rhonda Johnson writes, “Witty, fast-paced detective work makes for a good mystery, but the story’s sly, seamlessly conceived dinosaur underworld contains all the elements of a cult classic.” We’ve got two books from the series in our collection, and I can safely attest that they’re unlike anything you’ve read before:
Anonymous Rex: A Detective Story
L.A. shamus Vincent Rubio is a loser–few clients, his car repossessed, and basil addiction. He’s also a dinosaur–literally–one of thousands who still inhabit the earth disguised as humans. Investigating arson at a dino nightclub, Vincent stumbles on an interspecies breeding conspiracy. Strong language and some violence. 2000.
Hot and Sweaty Rex: A Dinosaur Mafia Mystery
The head of the velociraptor mafia hires Los Angeles detective Vincent Rubio, a dinosaur disguised as a human, to tail a rival hadrosaur. Vincent travels to Miami, where he learns about some horse racing schemes. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2004.