The Imaginary Corpse

Angry Robot. Sept. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9780857668318. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9780857668325. FANTASY
DEBUT Good ideas never really fade: they go to a place called the Stillreal. There, daydreams, nightmares, and imaginary friends—concepts rejected by their previous human owners—can live and discover a new sense of purpose. It’s also where we meet Tippy, a stuffed yellow triceratops who is Playtime Town’s best detective, often found downing root beer sundaes after tough cases and enjoying extended cycles in the dryer. However, when a mysterious being, quickly dubbed the Man in the Coat violates the laws of the Stillreal and starts killing residents, Tippy takes the case. This hard-boiled detective story set in an imaginary high-concept world feels like Pixar’s “Toy Story” movies scripted by Dashiell Hammett, but Hayes handles this narrative with style, wit, and an emotional seriousness that belies the cartoonish premise, as Tippy must enlist a wide cast of characters to assist with the various arms of the investigation and use empathy to confront serious issues of abandonment and trauma.
VERDICT This special and distinct novel will be enjoyed by fans of genre-bending tales and literary mashups, excellent for admirers of Jasper Fforde or Neil Gaiman.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing