Book Review: The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes

A “who done it” story with an imaginary world (Stillreal,) imaginary corpse, and you could say, imaginary detective, the dinosaur kind. The setting of the book is fantastic, the story is bittersweet and melancholic, just what you expect from a detective novel. The Imaginary Corpse is a solid book with relatable lead, Tippy the triceratops, and with a terrifying bad guy. The book is easy to like. It has an immediate language that pulls you in straight away and won’t let go.

That said, while the setting is fantastic as I already wrote and I love the imaginary friend concept and how the separation of the toy/nightmare/friend/etc. with the human counterpart has left a mark on all the habitats at Stillreal, it is still a detective story, and if you take all the fantastical elements about it away, then you are left with a basic “who done it” plot with kind of cliche characters. And that doesn’t matter, the book is well written, and even the cliche characters have quirks because of their shape and former function (nightmare…) But I’m not sure if I enjoyed the detective story as much as I should. It felt seen for me, and the bizarre setting couldn’t wipe away that feeling and need for something new. And this is not the fault of the book. It is me. (Not an excuse to make others feel better.)

The “disappointment” wasn’t for the book being too shallow. It had a deeper meaning with the fret and agony of being forgotten and alone, including the theme of the main plotline, which I won’t disclose because I don’t want to spoil the book for you. It was just that I didn’t get excited about this noir detective story; it is not something which speaks to me when I read books. I’m not sure why. That said, I would still say, read the book. The setting and the concept of imaginary friends is delicious. It’s an idea to play with. A good solid book for anyone.

Thank you for reading, and have an unreal day! (In a good way.)

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