I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Patrick Canning’s Cryptofauna. When I was queried for a review, I almost passed and I’m glad I did not.
Down on his luck Jim is something of an Arthur Dent kind of character from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy… amid his life falling apart all around him, he is whisked away on an incredible (and mostly unbelievable) adventure. The humor is similar as well and Canning is able to write some incredibly potent hooks into the story (the first line, for one) as well as some concepts that are normally so antithetical that they feel absurd—but in context, they are the right kind of absurd that makes the story work.
Cons? I’m not a fan of the cover and there are some minor format glitches with the justification, but nothing to get in the way of the story.
The book reads like a pan-galactic garble blaster: Da Vinci Code smashed up with The Game but wrapped around Hitchhiker’s Guide. If dark humor and a touch of absurdity is your thing, check out Cryptofauna and if you like it, also check out another book series that it reads like, Scott Burtness’s Monsters in the Midwest series.