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The Toyminator review

Madness and mayhem as teddies in trench coats defeat diabolical deeds.

315 PAGES · £12.99

Author: Robert Rankin

Publisher: Gollancz

ISBN: 0-575-07010-2

Rating: 4/5

It's pretty obvious, especially when you reach the teddy bear discusses flavoured condoms scene, that The Toyminator is a typically entertaining, rude and quite bizarre Robert Rankin novel.

The teddy bear in question is Eddie and he’s embarking on a new adventure in Toy City (some time after the serial killer troubles of the Hollow Chocolate Bunnies escapade). Eddie and his human sidekick Jack are investigating why the entire population of cymbal-playing monkeys were burned into cindered remains at exactly the same time, all over Toy City. The clues lead our private dicks onto a dangerous path where more toys die in extraordinary circumstances and two strangely familiar perpetrators are spotted loitering around the locale. Jack and Eddie have to risk their lives swinging from chandeliers and travelling to parallel worlds to foil an intensely evil plan involving some of Toy City’s most lovable denizens.

Featuring traditional Rankin fayre, The Toyminator has enough running jokes, crazy footnotes and toilet humour to keep even the hardcore fans happy – and keep the new reader chuckling with delight too. The fast-moving plot twists and turns through some gob-smacking dialogue and unpredictable landscapes. It takes the piss out of a huge range of Hollywood movie stereotypes and even throws in a car chase or two. Toy City and all its gadgetry is consistently believable, and the characters and all their foibles are consistently daft.

Eddie and Jack bumble and booze their way from clue to clue (although only Eddie’s feet get drunk because the beer sinks through his sawdust stuffing); and they debate everything (from the aroma of a ballerina’s feet to the ethics of human/ dolly sexual relationships) on their way to a feather-busting finale. The wordplay is impressive in both quantity and quality, and builds a distinctive style that reflects the toy-like outlook of many of the characters. It’s mad, but wonderfully funny.

Sandy Auden

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Available platformsTV