Title: The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Author: Robert Rankin
Publisher: Gollancz/ Orion Publishing Co. 2002. 342 pages.
Summary: (going with the publisher's summary here. This one's a little hard to sum up!).
Once upon a time Jack set out to find his fortune in the big city. But the big city is Toy City, formerly known as Toy Town, and it has grown considerably since the good old days and isn't all that jolly any more. And there is a serial killer loose on the streets. The old, rich nursery rhyme characters are being slaughtered one by one and the Toy City police are getting nowhere in their investigations. Meanwhile, Private Eye Bill Winkie has gone missing, leaving behind his sidekick Eddie Bear to take care of things. Eddie may be a battered teddy with an identity crisis, but someone's got to stop the killer. When he teams up with Jack, the two are ready for the challenge. Not to mention the heavy drinking, bad behaviour, car chases, gratuitous sex and violence, toy fetishism and all-round grossness along the way. It's going to be an epic adventure!
First off, as you can guess if you read the summary, this is not a children's book, despite the use of nursery-rhyme characters (or, as they prefer to be called, PPPs, or Preadolescent Poetic Personalities). What this is, or should be, is an absurdist romp through a world were toys and PPPs are real, living, and even mostly sentient. It has the potential to be a seriously funny story.
Again, you can see where this is going. Maybe I'm just not the right audience, but I found very little of the book funny. Occasionally there were jokes that got a smile, but not many. And certainly the overall premise wasn't exactly a knee-slapper. I might attribute this to it being British humour and me being, well, not-British. But I like a lot of British humour. I love P.G. Wodehouse. I also got a hoot out of the books I've read by Will Macmillan Jones (this, and also this), and those are current (lest you think maybe I only like old British humour).
No, the book just wasn't for me. But I will say that the story holds together pretty well, and the author throws a good twist or two into the plot as we near the end--enough that by the last 80 pages or so I did get engaged enough to read on through (the only reason I got that far, though, is that it was a book club read). I didn't hate the book, and I kept thinking that I ought to be really liking it. I mean, the title alone is enough to predispose me to like it--I do enjoy the absurd! But, alas, it just didn't light my fire.
Hard to say. Fans of off-beat Brit humour, those who already know and love Rankin, and maybe those who like mysteries that are more than a little out of the ordinary, may really love this book! If you have read it and liked it, leave me a note!
Full Disclosure: I checked The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."