Wednesday, 2 April 2014

100th Book Review Special: Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?

   Today’s a bit of a milestone, my 100th book review and I’d like to offer a quick thank you to everyone who’s checked out the site over the past year and a half. Without your visits it’s unlikely I’d have ever stuck this thing out for so long.
   So, what to review for my 100th book? I figured it should be something relevant to the site and one title springs to mind…
   …my first review all those many moons ago, was Gary K. Wolf’s Who Censored Roger Rabbit? So, 100 reviews later, it only makes sense to take a look at the sequel.

So here we go, the 100th tales from iDEATH review…Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?

Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?
Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? 
Gary K. Wolf
 "The whole Roger Rabbit cast is back: Roger Rabbit, Eddie Valiant, Baby Herman, and of course Jessica Rabbit, the sultriest woman ever “drawn that way.” They’re up to their old tricks in a whimsical new mystery by Toontown’s original creator, the man who first brought these delightful creatures to life.
Who P-p-p-plugged Roger Rabbit? opens with a call from Roger to hard-boiled private eye Eddie Valiant. Roger suspects that Jessica is baking carrot cakes for movie heartthrob Clark Gable. And the scandal threatens to rob Roger of the Rhett Butler role in the soon-to-be-filmed Toon musical comedy Gone With The Wind. Investigating Jessica’s alleged affair, valiant Eddie finds adultery turning to murder. In no time flat, he’s up to his fedora in a nasty web of deceit, intrigue, and Hollywood corruption including reports from all over of a swindling, cheating, blackmailing…..Roger!!?!?!"

   As I covered in my original review, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? is very different to the film adaptation that it spawned. The original novel was much darker and took much more influence from pulp detective novels than the world of cartoons. The plot was also significantly different and actually saw Eddie Valiant attempt to solve the murder of Roger Rabbit, who is shot very early into the novel.
   This second novel isn’t a direct sequel to either the novel or the film, it’s more like a looney tunes cartoon, the same characters appear, but in a whole new scenario with no real continuity in between. The novel certainly feels more similar in tone to the film than the book, but borrows from both and there’s a couple references to the novel, most notably when Jessica Rabbit basically writes off the events of the first book as a dream.
   The book sees Eddie Valiant hired by Roger Rabbit to investigate a newspaper report that claims Jessica Rabbit is having an affair with Clark Gable, Roger’s rival for the role of Rhet Butler in the upcoming production of Gone with the Wind.
   The plot thickens, when he is also hired by the films producer David O. Selznick, to investigate a robbery he suspects was committed by one of his choices for the lead role.

   I had a blast reading this book. With its send ups of 1930’s Hollywood and parodies of pulp clichés, it’s just a lot of fun.
   I enjoyed the loose continuity between the two previous iterations as it allowed for some liberal bending of the rules in terms of the characters. Eddie Valiant is conveniently given two new siblings to match his movie-introduced-Toon-murdered brother Teddy, a new missing brother, Freddy and his sister Heddy.  
   Jessica too is given a sibling in the form of her identical, albeit, six inch tall, sister Joellyn who ends up being the recipient of many of Eddie’s best lines throughout the book.

   The humour is the same as the first novel with recognisable detective story clichés being turned on their heads because of the anarchic nature of the toons. Eddie Valiant is just a great character and the funniest moments throughout the book are usually his dialogue and internal monologues which again, are heavily influenced by the gumshoe pulps.
   It all works really well and builds an extreme and original world, and, though I didn’t find myself laughing out loud as much as I’d hoped, it’s still incredibly funny and smartly written.

   One thing I disliked was the lack of cameos, while the original novel wasn’t as over saturated with them as the movie was; it still contained the odd cameo by Dick Tracey or Haagar the Horrible. This time around the cameos are pretty much nonexistent. There’s a couple of real life celebs included like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, which is enjoyable but not as much fun as seeing Roger interact with other toons.

   Overall though, if you’re a fan of either the film or the original novel, this book is well worth a read. It’s very funny and the constantly twisting plot stops the book from ever becoming a simple comedy novel. It’s a good blend of the original and more popular incarnations of the character and manages a good middle ground between the colourful cartoon world of the film and the gritty noir setting of the novel.
   Give it a read.

Gary K.Wolf & Roger Rabbit

   Once again, thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read my reviews. I hope you’ve all found something interesting within them, I’ve had a blast writing them.
   Also, in doing a little final research for this review I discovered that last year, Gary K. Wolf actually released a third Roger Rabbit book, Who Wacked Roger Rabbit?...I guess that means I’ve got my 200th review sorted, I’ll see you then,

1 comment:

  1. I cant speak for anyone else but I'm glad you persevered with the blog. I always have a wee read at your posts, especially when I'm on the lookout for my next read!