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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Amberville

Amberville, part 3 of Tim Davys' Mollisan Town Quartet, is a slightly offbeat, mildly
disturbing, thought-provoking, entertaining crime novel.  It touches on the nature of life and
death, mistaken identity, law and order, and good and evil, all viewed through the
perspective of stuffed animals.

Yes, you read that right.  Stuffed animals.  Mollisan Town is populated with stuffed
animals of varying moral alignments, from the holy penguin Archdeacon Odenkirk to the
malicious gangster Nicholas Dove.

Eric Bear, former mob enforcer, now a successful ad exec and devoted husband, is asked
to do a favor for his former employer, the aforementioned Nicholas Dove: locate the
Death List -- a roster of all the stuffed animals slated to die on a particular day --
and remove his name from it, or suffer the death of his beloved Emma Rabbit.  The
problem is no one knows if the Death List actually even exists, much less where it is or
how to remove a name.  Eric assembles his old crew from the old days -- the hulking yet
sweet Tom-Tom Crow, the effete Sam Gazelle, and the dispassionate Snake Marek -- and
the foursome search Mollisan Town high and low for leads on this Death List.  Along the
way, we see interludes about the characters' seedy past, especially one concerning a
case of mistaken identity.

Amberville is shockingly adult, in stark contrast to the idea of the characters being
stuffed toys.  There's drinking, smoking, drug use, and sex all over this book, and on
several occasions you forget you're reading a book about stuffed animals.  It is
imaginative and wildly fun, and I honestly can't help but to recommend it.

8 out of 10.

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