Cryptofauna – Patrick Canning

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*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author and BookSirens.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*


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Blurb:  Working as a janitor at an insane asylum in rural Idaho has Jim in the dumps. One night, his attempted suicide is rudely interrupted by one of the residents, and he’s recruited to play a game called Cryptofauna. The bizarre contest of worldwide mischief and meddling might actually help the blue custodian discover a reason to life, if he can survive the deadly trials that await…




It is sometimes said that ‘Gods play games with the fates of men’ (Sir Terry Pratchett).  In this case, the game is Cryptofauna, the rules are obscure and the stakes are unclear.  Let the game begin…

Jim is a janitor, living a reasonably humdrum life and failing to find any meaning or joy in it (Trigger warning: suicide attempt).  Luckily, Oz is on hand to pluck him from despair and tenderly send him into danger… nothing to give your life meaning like having to fight for it!

Except maybe finding those worth fighting with and for.  Jim slowly assembles a team of fellow ‘life strugglers’ and together they attempt to play Cryptofauna, or defeat evil, or survive… any or all they can manage really.

Cryptofauna‘s zany and chaotic style – shot through with political uncorrectness, running jokes and dark humour – will be familiar and welcome to fans of Robert Rankin and Tom Holt  (perhaps especially Wish You Were Here).  The plot takes odd turns and hinges on unlikely coincidences and dei ex machina, but then sometimes that’s the way the dice fall.

There is definitely potential for further adventures from Jim and his Combo and, as the ‘ordinary man’ persevered and modestly sidled his way into my heart, I hope to see many more in the future!


   Obelisk into the void.  A crackers castaway in a lifeboat.  And to top it all off, Jim’s entire outfit was now a sock that would have a real “you think that’s bad, guess what I had to do” story for the washing machine crowd.
Even though Jim was generally a cool customer regardless of the situation, this seemed like a big ask.  Previously, the strangest thing that’d ever happened to him was finding a second prize in his box of Cheerios.

– Patrick Canning, Cryptofauna


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Find more from Patrick Canning at his website here, or follow him on Instagram and Goodreads.

Cryptofauna is available on Amazon right now!



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