Who Wacked Roger Rabbit
Gary K. Wolf
Release Date: November 29, 2013
E-book, 262 pages
Roger Rabbit fans, rejoice: author Gary K. Wolf (that’s him play-acting on the cover above) has written a third book in the mischievous Rabbit’s franchise. Who Wacked Roger Rabbit?, set for release (e-book only) later this month, is sure to delight fans of the series. This comedic crime novel follows private eye Eddie Valiant as he investigates a murder in Toontown. Eddie is hired as a bodyguard to protect actor Gary Cooper, who is working on developing his character for an upcoming starring role in a movie set in Toontown. Things get messy when the team, along with the help of Cooper’s co-star, Roger, begins to investigate a murder and are repeatedly threatened by the swine villain, Willy Prosciutto.
Readers may remember the grumpy and jaded Valiant from the 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which was turned into the box-office hit Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and its 1991 sequel, Who P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? In fact, many of the same beloved characters who appeared both in the film and in previous books in the series are returning characters in Who Wacked Roger Rabbit?: besides Valiant and the ever-eccentric Roger Rabbit, there’s also his bodacious wife, Jessica, and the lecherous Baby Herman.
Wacked introduces us to a new villain–Toontown’s mob boss, Prosciutto, who is a no-good, dirty pig: literally. Claiming that he “runs Toontown,” Prosciutto has bribed and blackmailed his way to the top. Being notoriously violent, Prosciutto has most everyone in Toontown living in fear of crossing him. With no help from the corrupt police department in Toontown, Eddie and company are forced to seek justice on their own. They are consistently threatened by Louie Louie Louse, Prosciutto’s second hand thug. It is known around Toontown that the Louse does Prosciutto’s evil bidding, seemingly with pleasure. Though not particularly intelligent, these villains incite terror with their complete lack of regard for life.
What makes this novel so intriguing is Wolf’s ability to create an entirely unique world: a world where animated characters and humans coexist. Unlike the film adaptation of Wolf’s first novel in the Roger Rabbit series, his novels feature a fascinating form of Toon linguistics. The majority of Toons in his story do not use spoken word; instead, they communicate through speech balloons, as comic book characters would. A Toon’s emotions can be determined based on the style and font of his or her word balloon, as in this example in which a Toon is attempting seduction or flirtation: “Honey leaned in close and whispered out a small lacy pink balloon, the kind lingerie manufacturers turn into Victorian secrets.” Word balloons can also be used to identify Toons; each Toon has a balloon style as unique to him or her as fingerprints are to humans.
Bottom line: The eccentric creativity of this novel makes for a fun, fast-paced read. Fans of classic film will be delighted by the multiple references to Hollywood stars of the past.
To pre-order the e-book of Who Wacked Roger Rabbit?, check out the website for the novel.
True Classics thanks Musa Publishing for providing an e-copy of Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? for the purposes of this review.
*Join us tomorrow for an interview with Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? author Gary K. Wolf.*