The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse by Robert Rankin

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Synopsis from Amazon:

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse is set in Toy City. The Old Rich, who have made their millions from the royalties on their world-famous nursery rhymes, are being slaughtered. One by One. Horribly. A psychopath is on the loose and he must be stopped at all costs. It’s a job for Toytown’s only detective – Eddie Bear.

It is a fact well known to those who know it well, that this book is one of those books everybody should read. This book starts off rather like a child’s fairytale, and features a wonderful matter-of-fact tone and style of writing. Its pedantic focus on using words properly and interpreting meanings accurately lead to dodgy scenarios and hilariously sarcastic moments throughout. The author’s genius is clear in his ability to use this matter of fact tone to convey an adult story in a child’s setting – serial murders in Toy City. Many chapters begin with a brief character profile about a victim, or about a group or particularly a religion in the city – each is brief but gives an insight to a realistic depth of story. It is certainly no surprise to hear an entire sequel set in the same world has been written – it’s clear Toy City has plenty to offer.

The characters. Ahh the characters. Jack and Eddie Bear (former side-kick of Bill Winkie, M.I.A) are the unlikely heroic duo thrown together into the midst of a city plagued by a serial killer who is always one step ahead. Each murder is of a member of an elite group called the Preadolescent Poetic Personalities – a.k.a Little Boy Blue, Humpty Dumpty, Jack Sprat, and even Mother Goose (or in this case, Madame Goose, owner of a brothel.) Yes, violence, sex, car chases and teddies, this book has it all. You’ll find yourself trying not to giggle at the imaginative and darkly humorous methods of murderous mayhem, and even a penchant for a little alliteration too. It’s even got a deeper side to it (the implications of the religious undertones will hopefully not be lost on many.)

The story itself is fast paced, each chapter bringing with it a new death or revelation, provoking continuous reconsiderations regarding the identity of the killer. As the book draws to a close twist upon twist layer the novel, several clichés and several completely unexpected, so even the most attentive reader won’t be sure what is going to happen. This despite the somewhat meta-fictional nature of the book – meaning it occasionally draws attention to the fact that it is following along an established story structure, which just adds to the humor. In response to Eddie Bear’s question regarding the nature of an item called the ‘Maguffin’, – ‘’Certainly’ said Jack. ‘In all detective novels there is always a Maguffin. The Maguffin is the all-important something, the all-importance of which will not become apparent until it’s important moment has come.’’

The only thing I want to fault about the book is the miminalistic role played by the Hollow Chocolate Bunnies themselves. Having said that, the revelation of the actual murderer, it’s implications and it’s epic (and indeed apocalyptic) nature make it impossible not to forgive Rankin for this. This book takes what several authors have tried to do, and absolutely 110% perfected it. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Rating: 9.5/10

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