The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse

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Eddie Bear is a bear with problems. He has a head full of sawdust, no opposable thumbs and buttons for eyes. That, though, is just the beginning of his woe, because he’s also been dealt the lead roll as private detective in a richly embroiled plot to best the fiend behind Toy City's first ever serial-murders after his detective owner, Bill Winkie, mysteriously vanishes. To aid him in his epic quest Eddie enlists upon the help of Jack, an unlikely a hero as any, who has stumbled into Toy City, formerly known as Toy Town, seeking out his fortune.

But the City isn’t everything Jack hoped it to be. It’s Toy City for one thing, and the old rich nursery rhyme characters, fat on the wealth of their best selling rhymes, are being diabolically culled, one by one in hideous fashion.

Fast car rides, even faster talking, hard drinking, gratuitous sex and violence inevitably ensue as Jack and Eddie begin to unravel the mystery and delve into the perilous world that lies beneath the rich every day facade of Toy City.

As the pages turn Eddie and Jack find themselves dragged deeper and deeper into a mystery that begins to threaten not only the stability, but ultimately the very fabric of Toy City’s existence, as they attempt to uncover an evil even they can not begin to comprehend.

To say anymore of the plot would simply be sacrosanct, it turns, twists and mutates with each chapter, easing you into a world filled with alliterative hilarity, clever, inspired word play and comes peppered throughout with what is now trademark for any Rankin tome, the essential running gag.

In this, his latest novel, Robert Rankin explores his deep-seated love of narration to the very full, provoking an almost poetical prose filled - and highly charged - text that is packed to bursting with clever wit. The anecdotal form rolls forever on, immersing the reader in both humour and intrigue; this is simply Robert Rankin at his very best. Employing himself as a master wordsmith Rankin conjures up skills gleaned from over two decades in writing to bring us a work of sheer unadulterated brilliance.

No other author can use narration in such finical style, something Rankin seems to do with ease. Such prosaic charm as this can be seen nowhere else. Heaped as it is with depth and planning this book works on level after level. Peopled by impossibles and decked out with typical portraits of Rankin’s rich alliterative style, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse must surely be one of Rankin's best.

Reviewed by Lee Justice