The title sounds like it’s a children’s book that might make a nice little bedtime story. So let me make it clear right off the bat, THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR CHILDREN. Well, not unless you’re raising some pretty twisted little children. No judgment here, just want y’all to be forewarned. This book is actually part of the so-called “Bizarro Fiction” genre, which you can get a better, and more humorous, understanding of HERE. A little over a year ago I reviewed the first Bizarro book I’ve ever read, The Cannibals of Candyland by Carlton Mellick III, since then I’ve read several other books in the genre today I’m reviewing this one.
The thing I’ve noticed about the really good examples of Bizarro fiction is the ability to make the most utterly absurd situations seem completely unremarkable, and author Garrett Cook definitely achieves that within this novel. On the surface, this is a classic pulp story, about a hardened Private Investigator trying to do his job while also tracking down a man who double-crossed him. But in this case the PI is a man trapped inside the body of a 3 foot Teddy Bear, and the double crosser is the original Teddy Bear who tricked him into switching bodies and is now walking around in the PI’s old human body. So the first chapter starts off right in the middle of some action, as Jimmy gets into a shootout (using a specially-modified gun, which he is able to shoot, despite the fact that his Teddy Bear hands don’t have usable fingers) with some mafia thugs who have kidnapped a woman, and he casually mentions being trained in special martial arts by Shaolin dwarfs, and recounts a previous encounter with the same kidnappers where they had managed to shoot him and then rip some of the cotton out of his chest. This is all presented very matter-of-factly.
As the stories go on, we’re introduced to the supporting cast/recurring characters, including Chang, Jimmy’s Chinese chauffeur/martial arts instructor, and Jean, the possible love interest, who works for a local crime boss and is a “Furry”, which is someone who likes to dress up in animal costumes to have sex (I’d post some links on the phenomenon, but most would be NSFW, so Google it yourself, if you must). There are quite a few furries within this story, people (mostly prostitutes) dressed like animals, but also some real talking animals (people who, like Jimmy, made bad deals and switched their bodies, just with actual animals instead of dolls), sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which, when a character is simply referred to as a walrus or a pony, or some other creature. But, either way, it all makes total sense within the context of the story. Most of the criminals in this book have colorful names, like Johnny Hideous, Kewpie Doll Steve, & Bulgy O’Toole.
Each chapter in this book tells a different adventure. Jimmy faces some pretty crazy adversaries, from an assassin who has switched his body with a gun, thus making himself the perfect killer, to cannibals (although, could you be considered a “cannibal” in the strictest sense, if you eat someone who is partially made out of food?) and Martians. In the final chapter we learn the circumstances that lead Jimmy Plush into his predicament, as he comes face to face with the Teddy Bear that tricked into switching bodies and tries to figure out how to switch back. I won’t spoil the ending, other than to say that I found it satisfying.
In conclusion, this is a trippy story with more twists than a Magic Mountain roller-coaster, full crazy situations that make David Lynch look sane. The story flows very easily, it took me awhile to get the time to read it, but once I started it was hard to put down, and I finished it in a couple of days. A very good effort from Garrett Cook. Two Thumbs Up.