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Jimmy Bird
The City That Barks And Roars
JT Bird, author
Animals rule the world. They hit cafes for breakfast then nine to five at the office, and fritter away evenings at jazz clubs. But paradise is still a distant dream, for there are devils amongst the angels. Lucas Panda is missing; clues on the riverbank suggest he was probably kidnapped. Enter Frank. Who else you gonna call? Hard-boiled penguin and the finest detective in town. And meet his new partner, Detective Chico Monkey - yeah, the wisecrackin' kid with all the snappy suits. But the stakes have been raised; three more creatures are missing and the citizens of Noah's Kingdom are faced with possible extinction. Can the grouchy bird and plucky young ape save the city from doom? Or, will evil prevail and escape the claws of justice? 'Animal noir' peppered with plenty of humour; this thrilling debut novel from award-winning comedian JT Bird is an intriguing blend of Jungle Book and Chinatown (Zootopia for grown-ups?! Watership Down with Fedoras!?) - perfect for fans of animal fiction, or mysteries, adventure and crime. A gripping yarn, packed with weird and wonderful creatures, for youngsters and adults alike (or anyone who's crying out for anthropomorphic detectives!!)
This wild adventure is packed with talking animals, hilarious antics, and a thrilling mystery. After the great flood, Noah opened the ramp of his ark, and the animals stepped out first, solidifying their dominant role in this alternate history. Fast forward through the evolutionary process to 1952, when the city Noah’s Kingdom is home to millions of anthropomorphic animals. Grumpy detective Frank Penguin and his clean-cut partner, Chico Monkey, are assigned to track down a missing detective and three beavers, a mission that brings them snout-to-snout with the city’s most corrupt gangsters. Danger lurks around every corner as they race to solve the case before innocent lives are lost.

Bird’s playful noir weaves whimsy and hilarity into the backdrop of an exhilarating whodunit. Witty puns and amusing wordplay sprinkle the pages: there are references to the literary classic Jane Bear and the popular movie A Street Cat Named Desire. Bird brings anthropomorphic characters to life through creative, authentic characterizations. For example, the beaver doesn’t drink coffee from a human-size mug; instead, Bird’s imagination conjures up a more appropriate vessel, the dainty thimble. This attention to detail shines throughout, including Chico’s aftershave (Eau De La Nana by Franco Chimpo) and Frank’s 1950s detective attire, complete with mac jacket.

Plot isn’t neglected in this fast-paced, delightful escape from reality. The tension is high throughout, with many misdirections (which is not to say red herrings) and surprising twists leading to a dramatic happy ending. The noir atmosphere drips from the pages and creates a dynamic setting reminiscent of Dick Tracy comics, if Tracy happened to be a monkey in a city of animals. Any mystery fan looking for a hearty laugh will adore this anthropomorphic frolic.

Takeaway: This hilarious noir-inspired comedy wins readers’ hearts with anthropomorphic animals and a clever mystery full of genuine twists.

Great for fans of Thomas Perry’s Metzger’s Dog, Douglas Adams, Joyce Porter, Donald Westlake.

Production grades
Cover: A+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A