The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes (Angry Robot, 2019) mashes up a noir detective story with a world peopled with imaginary friends and ideas their creators have abandoned. In doing so, he’s created a vibrant world filled with whimsy, but also a place in which deep subjects, such as trauma and loss, can be explored in a profound way.
In the Stillreal, the place where abandoned ideas and imaginary friends reside, death is rarely permanent, until it is. Detective Tippy witnesses the death of a Friend, and uses his detective skills to crack the case. Of course, Detective Tippy is a plush triceratops with a fondness for dryers and root beer, as is befitting the former imaginary friend of a young girl.
Detective Tippy’s voice sucked me straight into this book, and I was more than happy to follow him through the twists and turns of this mystery novel. The setting was wonderfully detailed, with bits and pieces of all sorts of different imaginary worlds blended together into an amazing tableau. I particularly loved Avatar City, the abandoned superhero city with the usual slate of heroes and villains, as concocted by a teenage boy.
While this book might seem like one that could be enjoyed by all ages due to it being about imaginary friends and plush critters, I definitely would not recommend it to younger readers. It’s dark and scary in a lot of places, and bad things happen to good Friends. But for adults who want to recapture some of their youthful imaginings, while reading an excellent book about trauma, forgiveness, and acceptance, The Imaginary Corpse will definitely fill that niche. The book will be out September 10, but can be pre-ordered now.
The author provided us with a free copy of this novel in exchange for review consideration.Follow us online: