Thursday, August 23, 2012

I knew it was you, Steggy

Title: Hot and Sweaty Rex
Author: Eric Garcia
Bookmark: library receipt.  I haven't been very creative here lately.

This is the third book in a series I started reading... well, a very long time ago.  I think it predates this online collection of Everything I Read.  Anyway, I was much younger, and the idea of dinosaurs living in human disguises in the modern world really appealed to me.  Almost as much as it still does.  Sure, Julia Roberts doesn't seem like a Stegosaurus, but according to Garcia, the cheekbones give her away.  The trick in accepting this premise is to not think too much about how much the various species must have shrunk and adjusted to be able to fit inside human-sized costumes, even with their various horns, tails, claws, and unusually long necks tucked inside.

Vincent Rubio, our long-time hero, is a velociraptor private investigator, and he's really stepped in it this time.  Sure, he's cleaning up his act, he's joined Herbaholics Anonymous and goes to regular meetings.  His creditors don't bother him nearly as much as they probably should.  Things are looking better for the scaly protagonist, even if business is slow lately.

Then he gets conned into attending the party at Frank Tallarico's place.  Worse, he is requested to join Frank for a private conversation.  You wouldn't think that was so bad, but only if you didn't know Frank was the west coast boss of the velociraptor crime family.  Naturally, after Vincent has been a guest at his house, eaten his food, and listened to the second-rate musical talent, he is obligated to hear Frank's job offer, and after hearing it, he is compelled to accept.  It seems simple enough, and comes with a hefty sack of cash when Vincent leaves the meeting, but Vinnie knows it's never simple when you deal with the dinosaur mafias.

The sack of cash is quickly distributed to most of the places and people to whom Rubio owes money, with some left over for new clothes.  His task is to follow the second-in-command of the Miami Hadrosaur family for two weeks and regularly report back to Frank.  Then Hagstrom, his mark, leaves town and Rubio is ordered to follow him back to Miami.

When he lands he is taken in by Frank's brother Ernie, who runs a decidedly seedier operation in the East, and is told that his two-week contract extends to whatever Ernie decides Vincent should do.  Vincent quickly finds himself deeply embroiled in two rival dino crime families, a stack of illicit dealings as high as your tail, and hasty preparations as a hurricane nears the sunshine state.

It was certainly more entertaining than most mob books, if only for the dinosaur angle and Rubio's constant noir-style wisecracks, but I never got as excited about the book as I had the other two.  Maybe it's been too long, or I've gotten too jaded, or maybe the hook has been played out, but I've finished the trilogy, I feel good about that, and now I can go back to Absaroka County.

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posted by reyn at 10:20 AM


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