I saw a Goodreads description or review that called Cantero the heir to the Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams throne. Nope to that. The more I think on it, the more I like This Body’s Not Big Enough For Both Of Us, but it’s not the same level of clever, especially since it’s much more limited in the scope of the allusions. The wordplay of Pratchett is not there, nor is the narrative originality, or at least not original in the same way. Cantero’s pretty direct about the type of story he’s telling/riffing from the opening lines: “Elmore Leonard says it’s bad style to open a novel with the weather. Well, f*** him.” Douglas Adams I almost see in the drier wit, and nonsensical deadpan, but Cantero’s got funny in an entertaining way that’s more humorous.
In terms of describing this book, I can’t really do any better than NPR’s reviewer who totally nailed this in saying that a lot of the weird/craziness in this book isn’t the point; it’s all about putting the main character into situations to see what happens. That character is both Adrian and Zooey Kimrean, twins who share the same physical body, but control different components (DNA proves it) and constantly fight over who controls the whole thing at any given moment. Adrian and Zooey are so messed up but really worth rooting for, and even though mystery noir isn’t really my thing, this tribute was still really entertaining. I wonder if maybe because I don’t read or watch a lot of noir that I enjoyed this more, since I only know the general basics, and wasn’t looking for specific tropes. I spent most of the story sympathizing more with Adrian, although admittedly Zooey’s more fun to watch. Adrian at least shows some effort to try and compromise on some things, but Zooey’s all about her way or the highway. Unless it’s driving; Adrian gets to do that no matter what. And for genuine, reasonable reasons. The ending is probably the least noir about the whole thing, since most of the main characters survive, even though one or two might wish they didn’t. There’s a lot of things left hanging at the end too, but that too is probably both totally not the point, but also totally the point to make you wonder and fill it in yourself. As much fun as it is to imagine what happens next, I do hope there’s a sequel. There’s so much more that A.Z. Kimrean could do, and it would be a total disaster for them, but a total lot of fun for me.