I confess...I didn't know what to expect when I opened Tourquai: A Novel by Tim Davys. I knew it was a detective-type mystery and that it was the author's third in a series of four books. The books stand-alone but are in the same imaginary fictional region (an area w/ four districts...each is the title of a novel). What I didn't realize was that the characters are all stuffed animals. Honestly, I'm not certain why the author made that decision. It actually isn't as distracting as one might expect and they act pretty much like normal characters. There are some wrinkles though...time is in terms of weather, drying out after rain is key, and having your head cut off may not be fatal if they can find it and stitch it back on.
Once again, I'm going with 3.5 stars. To be clear, this is a generally positive rank for me. I'm a tough grader and 4 stars likely means I plan to re-read it and 5 is a rave. I enjoyed the story and the way Davys followed several different characters as he explored the mystery at the heart of the plot. There's a bit of aside towards the end about fate versus free will....that felt a bit "tacked on" but was an interesting line to ponder. I did like some of the little quirks about the fictional world that Davys crafts.
FYI: This is a translation and Davys is a pen name. This is another book where an advance review copy was provided to me by the folks at Harper.