Robert Rankin






Orion Publishing Group/Allen & Unwin, Nov 2006
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Robert Rankinís Toy City is located somewhere over the rainbow and just off the yellow brick road; it is where Toys live. The Toys are very much alive; they walk, talk and go to work just as we do. There are even Toy religions, such as The Church of Mechanology and The Exclusive Brotherhood of the Midnight Growlers. The Toys donít believe there is a whole world of humans, and although they are aware that Ďmeatheadsí exist, the Toys think that these are just aberrations, rather than a whole species. The citizens of Toy City, however, have more things to worry about than whether humans really exist. There has been a spate of STC (Spontaneous Toy Combustion) across the city, the first of which were the last surviving twelve wind-up-cymbal-playing monkeys. The police have no idea where to start the investigation, so they call in Eddie Bear and his side-kick Jack. Eddie and Jack have recently re opened their old detective agency and are looking for work, any work, so they take on the case. The only problem is that Eddie Bear and Jack themselves have been seen at all the crime scenes, so they are the main suspects. On top of this, just who is that mechanical spaceman, and what is with the chickens?

THE TOYMINATOR is a sequel to THE HOLLOW CHOCOLATE BUNNIES OF THE APOCALYPSE and is nowhere near as good as the first. Donít get me wrong, THE TOYMINATOR had its funny moments, but not laugh out loud and disturb other people in the lunchroom funny. The plot started out on a high, and had a huge potential to go somewhere great. But it very quickly got to the point where I was struggling to keep reading it. I found the plot started to wear thin, with the feeling that Rankin was just cracking one-liners for the sake of it as if putting the jokes in was more important than hanging them off a really good story. I felt that he had lost interest in the whole plot and wasnít quite sure where he was going to go with it. THE HOLLOW CHOCOLATE BUNNIES OF THE APOCALYPSE was a great book, and comes highly recommended. Maybe because it was so good, I expected as high a standard with THE TOYMINATOR but it is definitely not of the same calibre. I think that Rankin should leave Toy City alone now. There cannot be any puns left to use; the concept has run its course.

Dec 2006 Review originally posted on Murder & Mayhem


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