By Eric Garcia

By J.A. Hitchcock

Villard Books (division of Random House), $23.00, ISBN 0375503269, hardcover

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I'll never look at herbs the same way again.

When I first picked up ANONYMOUS REX, it sounded a bit daffy to me—dinosaurs aren’t extinct and live among us. Granted, you have to get used to the idea that the main character in the book, Vincent Rubio, is a Velociraptor in disguise—a human "guise" as dinos call it. It seems that over the millennia, dinosaurs became smaller and decided to get along with humans instead of wiping us out. How nice of them. Along the way, they figured out how to make guises so a human couldn't recognize them—but dinosaurs can. Each one has a distinctive odor that identifies them. They even faked dinosaur fossils to fool humans into thinking they'd indeed become extinct a long time ago.

Vincent is a private detective who's dealing with his partner's "accidental" death. This happened while they were working on a big case involving the murder of a dino who'd committed a big no-no: sexual relations with a human. Vincent insisted it wasn't an accident, blew it big-time, lost his contract with the PI firm and got kicked off the Council (the dinosaur consortium that keeps everyone in line) and lost himself in a daze of herbs, especially basil (herbs make dinosaurs high and each dino has their favorite "drug”).

Vincent suddenly gets a freelance job from the same firm that blackballed him to investigate a Los Angeles nightclub fire. He needs the dough, so he takes the job and soon finds there's a connection between the fire and the case he and his partner worked on. Vincent hops a plane to New York to continue the investigation, much to the chagrin of many dinos, including the wife of the murdered dino from his old case, the girlfriend, the coroner and an encounter with a particularly nasty dino sans a human guise. If I say anymore, it'll give too much of the plot away.

Eric Garcia is a master at getting the reader involved to the point of distraction.  I know—my spouse was about ready to leave me because I couldn't put the book down. You get used to the contraptions that hold the human guise in place and you wonder how a Brontosaur could get so small so as to look like a human. ANONYMOUS REX is rollicking good fun and a fantastic detective story. I can't wait for the next book, CASUAL REX, but I have just one question for the author: Why is it called ANONYMOUS REX when the main character is a Raptor? Visit the ANONYMOUS REX web site at

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to ComputeMe and the author of seven books. Visit her web site at

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