Tyler Hayes' The Imaginary Corpse was published by Angry Robot Books in September 2019.

Information about Tyler Hayes:

Tyler Hayes is a science fiction and fantasy writer from Northern California. He writes stories he hopes will show people that not only are we not alone in this terrifying world, but we might just make things better. His fiction has appeared online and in print in anthologies from Alliteration Ink, Graveside Tales, and Aetherwatch. The Imaginary Corpse is Tyler's debut novel.

Information about The Imaginary Corpse:

A dinosaur detective in the land of unwanted ideas battles trauma, anxiety, and the first serial killer of imaginary friends.

Most ideas fade away when we’re done with them. Some we love enough to become Real. But what about the ones we love, and walk away from?

Tippy the triceratops was once a little girl’s imaginary friend, a dinosaur detective who could help her make sense of the world. But when her father died, Tippy fell into the Stillreal, the underbelly of the Imagination, where discarded ideas go when they’re too Real to disappear. Now, he passes time doing detective work for other unwanted ideas - until Tippy runs into the Man in the Coat, a nightmare monster who can do the impossible: kill an idea permanently. Now Tippy must overcome his own trauma and solve the case, before there’s nothing left but imaginary corpses.


When I heard about Tyler Hayes' The Imaginary Corpse, I was eager to read it, because the story sounded like something that would be right up my alley. I'm happy to say that all of my expectations were met when I began to read it, because it turned to be an excellent and stunningly original novel with plenty of imagination and gentle bittersweetness.

There's no question about Tyler Hayes' The Imaginary Corpse being the most original - and most extraordinary - debut novel of the year, because it's simply brilliant in its freshness and inventiveness. This novel is wonderfully different from other new fantasy novels due to its unique story that is in equal parts enticing to the brain and captivating to the soul.

The Imaginary Corpse marks the emergence of a talented author who dares to write something different and original. In this novel, Tyler Hayes has done the impossible with his narrative, because he transports the reader into the land of make believe and awakens nostalgic images about childhood, toys and days of innocence when the world was filled with wonder and strange things for a young person to explore.

Before I write more about this novel and my feelings about it, I'll mention that this is a novel for adult readers. Although the story may evoke feelings of a children's story, it is anything but a children's story, because the author tackles with such themes and issues as death, fear and trauma. It's possible that younger readers may enjoy this novel, but I recommend it to adult readers due to its mature contents.

This novel tells a captivating tale about a toy dinosaur detective, Tippy the triceratops - Detective Tippy - who lives in the StillReal and tries to stop a dangerous serial killer, the Man in the Coat, who is capable of killing an idea permanently. The Man in the Coat is a serious threat to everybody who lives in the Stillreal, because when an idea is killed permanently, it stops existing and dies. Tippy's investigations leads him to various places and he must overcome obstacles in order to stop the killer... As the story unfolds, the author presents his readers with fantastical visions of the StillReal and its many places and keeps up a sense of mystery as Tippy's investigations bring him closer to the Man in the Coat.

The worldbuilding is stunning, because the author writes about the adventures of a toy dinosaur in the StillReal, which is a place where discarded ideas go when they are too real to disappear. The ideas that inhabit the StillReal call themselves Friends. The StillReal is a patchwork of various places that are as different from each other as their inhabitants are from one another. There are - amongst other things - such places as Merrysville, Avatar City and Playtime Town.

The characters in this novel are diverse and fascinating. All the Friends who inhabit the StillReal have been created by people. They're based on the people's needs and have helped them to make sense of the confusing world around them. After something traumatic or otherwise tragic has happened, the ideas have been abandoned or discarded and they have found their way to the StillReal.

Tippy is the protagonist of this novel. He is a kind, considerate and cute character who does his best to solve his cases. He's the best detective in the StillReal. He has a tragic past, because traumatic events in his creator's (a little girl named Sandra Moon) life caused him to be discarded and he ended up in the StillReal.

I like the way the author writes about Tippy, his feelings and his fears, because he does it in a touching way. Although Tippy is a fictional character and a toy, he feels fully realistic and alive. I enjoyed reading about how he felt about the deaths, because the Man in the Coat was a dangerous threat to the Friends.

What amazes me most about this novel is how effortlessly Tyler Hayes has infused it with challenging themes and issues. I was impressed by the author's way of writing about death and trauma, because they were a natural part of the story and brought depth to it. There was something bittersweet about his way of handling these things that appealed to me. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that he avoids sentimentality, but lends certain parts of the story a deeply touching edge with his writing.

This novel reads like a combination of Clifford Chase's Winkie, Pixar's Toy Story movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Cartoon Network's Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Raymond Chandler's novels. It has many elements, but all the pieces fit perfectly together and entertain the reader in a marvellous way.

I give this novel full five stars on the scale from one to five stars, because I loved everything about it. I was so impressed by it that I look forward to reading what Tyler Hayes comes up with next (I can hardly wait to get my hands on his next novel).

If you're in need of something new and original to read, I strongly advise you to take a look at this novel, because it's something different and mind-bogglingly original. This novel is fantasy fiction at its most imaginative.

Highly recommended!

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