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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
“An overwhelming stench of pungent hunters tickles his soggy nostrils, as all hope of evading capture withers away. And the last thing the panda sees before he’s plunged in a sack of darkness, is bedraggled white fur, a wide-open frothing mouth, and eyeballs red as the devil. Heaven will have to wait.” In The City That Barks And Roars by J.T. Bird, Detective Frank Penguin’s former partner, Lucas Panda, is missing. Then, three beavers mysteriously disappear. With the help of a new detective in town, Chico Monkey, the duo searches for clues while solving other crimes in the neighborhood. Something’s going down for sure, and the Kingdom Police Force is racing against time to solve the cases and save the victims.
Set in the 1950s, in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, The City That Barks And Roars is an engaging, funny, and dark detective noir about a subversive beast fable. The intriguing world-building has a sense of familiarity that can be easily visualized in readers’ minds. There’s a good balance between a riveting plot and funny moments where the seedy inner workings of our society become aphotic parodies. J.T. Bird creates a number of interesting anthropomorphized characters from a no-nonsense vulture who’s a Police Chief to a tough female wolf detective named Yuriko, who’s one of my favorites. Despite their differences, the grumpy Frank Penguin and the optimistic Chico Monkey work well together. Each character, main and secondary, complements each other well and efficiently delivers the well-developed storyline that has more surprises than I expected. A blend of a good narrative and thought-provoking elements, this is an entertaining read.