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Stuffed    by Brian Wiprud Amazon.com order for
Stuffed
by Brian Wiprud
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Dell, 2005 (2005)
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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I did not read Pipsqueak, the first in this charming and engaging series, but I shall remedy that oversight at the first opportunity. Stuffed, the sequel, is pure delight, interspersed with chilling moments of such outrageous doings that one must keep reading to see what happens next.

Garth Carson runs an exotic taxidermy rental business out of a storefront in New York City, while the light of his life, Angie, uses the same premises for her art jewelry design studio to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Their world revolves around their businesses and each other until Garth obtains a white crow preserved in a bell jar for Angie's birthday present. It seems the rest of the world is also interested in Angie's gift. Angie and Garth are mugged, and a large part of Garth's inventory stolen, the white crow part of the swag.

Now the fun begins, as Garth and Angie try to track down the valuable skins and horns and the people responsible for the theft. Joined by their Russian immigrant chain-smoking handyman Otto, they trek all over New England running down leads. The really outrageous part starts about here. Garth and Angie follow a dangerous path strewn with boulders and fathomless pits. A touch of sci-fi creeps in at this juncture but who cares? It's too delicious to stop reading. Crazy, funky, incredible, unbelievable, off the wall? That's a definite yes. Mood lifting, smile building, producing loud guffaws, fun? Yes.

Amidst all this buffoonery, Wiprud makes profound statements about love and partners. Slow down when you reach those parts. Digest them before you move on.

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