If there’s one way to describe Edgar Cantero’s writing style, it would definitely be frenetic. He knows the best way to implement it – in his last book, Meddling Kids, it was channeled into the interplay between the characters and the twists in the plot. With his new book, This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us,that energy is everywhere, which is kind of the point.
This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Usfollows A.Z. Kimrean, who is essentially two people in one body. The cold but logical Adrian and the wild, Id-like Zooey who spend their days working as a private investigator in California, living through all the best tropes of the detective noir genre. They become involved with a series of murders against a cartel family which quickly turns out to be more than they first appear.
Cantero is a genre chameleon, able to adapt his style to best fit the tropes he’s looking to examine and play with. Namely, he toys with this idea of what a detective should be, particularly making the part of Kimrean that is most like the typical noir detective, the hard-drinking, femme-fatale-attracting, on-the-edge type is Zooey, the female. Adrian does play into the cold and uncaring male stereotype, but there is a good deal of emotional growth in his arc so there’s that to contend with.
If there’s one word to describe this book, it’s fun. A high-flying rollercoaster of wacky fights and zany dialogue and a growing antagonism between two siblings in one body. I tend to have trouble following action, but the writing was strong enough to carry me through the larger action pieces. The relationship between Kimrean, and the cartel boss’s young daughter is probably my favorite aspect of the book, in part for its humanizing effect and in part because it hits on some interesting issues dealing with identity and womanhood. Cantero also has a way with openings, and while the book’s intro feels like a mess, sticking with it reveals a clever ruse that will click into place.
However, while Cantero fits the feel of a noir and does some interesting things with it, I cannot lie, it lacked narrative satisfaction for me. The ending feels rushed. There’s a lot that comes out of left field that is quickly explained away, and we get a soft cliffhanger that this book might turn into the first of a series. Detective stories are fun when the resolution makes sense, when all the threads are tied up, even if there’s a twist involved. However, with this book, it feels like we don’t get any hints or nudges that something else might be happening so it feels like the author threw it in as parody. The actual assassin appears to have an interesting backstory but we spend so little time with them that ultimately, it makes you wonder why even bother to bring it up at all.
This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us is available at all major book retailers on July 31, 2018.
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This Body's Not Big Enough for the Both of Us
A wild ride (that gets a little disorienting)
This Body’s Not Big Enough for the Both of Usis as loyal to Cantero’s manic sense of style and dialogue as it is to the genre it so lovingly draws from, but lacks the sort of satisfaction that make detective fiction fun to read.