How did I get it: The library.
Why did I read it: I love the concept, I know the author, and I’ve been meaning to read this for ages now.
How I would rate it: 4 out of 5 stars.
In a city ridden with prostitute furries, cannibal cops and warehouse-sized mob bosses, I’ve got my work cut out for me.
My name is Jimmy Plush. I’m a private detective. I’m also a teddy bear. It all started when the original Jimmy Plush entered my life, offering to take my gambling debts away if I agreed to switch bodies with him. But I didn’t know that being a three-foot-high plush toy would be such a living hell, especially now that everyone in town wants a piece of me. All I’ve gotten out of this deal is a faithful Chinese chauffeur, a custom teddybear .45, and a girlfriend who won’t take off the fox suit she turns tricks in. Now I’ve got to keep this town clean and try to track down the real Jimmy Plush without losing my stuffing for good.
Only one thing is for sure: Life is hard when you’re soft. Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective is a high octane pulp satire. In the tradition of Sam Spade, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, Hellboy and Howard the Duck comes a new kind of hero, a hero that reminds us that the measure of a man is in his guts and his gun
Review: Having never read a book like this, I find I’m sort of at a loss to either describe or articulate my thoughts. So my apologies if this is relatively short.
The writing was very well done in spite of a few tensing issues that an editor ought to have spotted. Unusual, zany, and baffling events, thoughts, and characters turned up in virtually every paragraph and certainly this sort of novel won’t appeal to all readers, but I didn’t feel like anything was done simply to shock me as a reader. There’s nothing about Cook’s writing that comes off as horribly gimmicky or insincere, which I found to be quite refreshing. It’s easy to tell that he has a great fondness for all things noir, weird, and pulp. I definitely think it was really clever of him to start off with fairly straight-forward tales and then move on to ones that were a bit more trippy. It was a bit disconcerting, but it kept the ball rolling and made a strange sort of sense too. Besides, it would be hard not to have a blast reading about the unusual exploits of an angry teddy bear PI.
There’s also a real great sense of humor to all the stories whether Jimmy Plush is in on the joke or not. The jump from the earlier stories to the last one was a bit jarring, but rather hilarious and entertaining. There were also plenty of great references or winks at other pulp fiction heroes, which I appreciated. The one exception being, for me, the remarks about the Chinese chaffeur particularly in regards to his eyes. This sort of thing is an issue I have had with books of a less satrical nature, but even in this case, I don’t think it really added to anything or bore repeating.
Really the only real significant complaint I have is that I wish the book had been longer with more fleshed out, which is probably the best sort of complaint a reader can have about a book. I definitely feel that, with the addition of more pages, the flow of events in each story would have been a bit smoother. I definitely could have done with a few more details here and there.
In conclusion, good, fun, original, strange, unique, and well worth picking up. I also suspect that this would be a great place to start for those curious about Bizarro fiction. Particularly if, like me, you’re terrified of every other book jacket you stumble upon.