As usual, Gregory writes with empathy and insight about the plight of damaged outsiders, as the unique problems and resentments of each of the band members emerge during the investigation. His neatest trick is keeping the grim backstory balanced with the sort of wacky good humor that teen superstars are expected to display, and with the formal demands of the locked-room procedural ... As with much of Gregory’s fiction, there’s a sentimental edge to the grotesquerie, and a grotesque edge to the comedy (which sometimes edges into James Morrow territory), but it all somehow works, thanks to Gregory’s essentially optimistic humanism and his apparent total lack of concern about recriminations from Wells’s vengeful ghost.
The intent of H. G. Wells’ original novel, a protest against the horrors of vivisection, is reiterated in a few well-chosen and excruciatingly impersonal pages ... a quirky extension of the H. G. Wells story, filled with animal puns, dialogue reeking with black humor, as well as with an ending guaranteed to satisfy ... Digging deep into the dialogue and the plight of laboratory animals will hit a painful nerve to the sensitive reader, making this short novel a more poignant appeal for more humane laboratory practices.
... clever ... zippy but complex ... The premise is catchy, and Gregory’s exploration of identity and humanity through the lens of pop-cultural superstardom meshes well with the whodunit plot, though a glossed-over last-minute reveal goes frustratingly underexplained. Self-aware humor and punchy puns liven up the narrative, resulting in a quirky and entertaining twist on a classic.