The Terror and the Tortoiseshell

John Travis, Author Atomic Fez $34.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-9811597-3-7

Animal Farm meets The Big Sleep in this quirky but compelling hard-boiled mystery, the first in a new series, from British author Travis (Mostly Monochrome Stories ). A mysterious event has reversed the roles of animals and humans in England. In an instant, pets have grown in height, gained the ability to speak, and started assuming the jobs of their former masters. People have become the animals’ pets or playthings in a savage outburst of revenge. Some animals oppose the violence, in particular, a cat who adopts the name and profession of his owner, becoming “Benji Spriteman, Detective.” Travis packs a lot in, including a twisty whodunit plot, humorous sequences to leaven the grimness, and a cult persuaded that Arthur Machen’s 1917 novella, The Terror , is a true account of an animal revolt in Britain. Despite superficial resemblances to Tim Davys’s Amberville (2009), a crime novel featuring walking and talking stuffed animals, this is a far superior work with a more fully realized imaginary world. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 01/01/2010
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