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The Designated Coconut

A 'Benji Spriteman' Novel by John Travis

HARDCOVER: $25/£15 rrp: $28.00/£18.95 [isbn: 978–0–9866424–8–7]

Published in the United Kingdom: October 3, 2012
Published World-Wide: April 2013

PAPERBACK: $15/£10 rrp: $17.95/£11.95 [isbn: 978–1–927609–00–2]

Published World-Wide: April 2013

eBOOK: $10 can (about £5.95 / €7) rrp: $14.95 usa (about £9.75 / €11,35) [isbn: 978–0–9866424–9–4]

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Published World-Wide: October 3, 2012

As I waited in the lobby, I listened to the comments of various animals as they came in from their early morning walks. Almost all of them were complaining about the heat. ‘World’s gone mad,’ an old Tabby in a pair of shorts muttered to himself on the way to the elevators, ‘preferred it in the Old days. Didn’t have to buy fans then. Just sat on the rug and licked my ass. Good times.’

In the twenty-four months that had passed since The Terror, the world had become a slightly more civilised place — so civilised that when two female feline crime writers turn up to do a signing at a local bookstore, only one of them is murdered, implicating Benji Spriteman.

In an attempt to solve the crime and clear his name, Benji ends up in Rockway, the sleepy seaside town where the remaining sister is staying. Only Rockway turns out to be not too sleepy, and the detective finds his life in danger not only from the animals on land, but from those above and below it too…

Praise for The Designated Coconut:

Travis’s clever second series entry (after The Terror and the Tortoiseshell) is for readers willing to suspend disbelief… the animal characters endear themselves to readers… in this admirable comedic stab at blending speculative fiction with crime.

Library Journal

British author Travis’s quirky second Benji Spriteman whodunit (after 2010’s The Terror and the Tortoiseshell) offers a welcome return to a universe where, two years after an event known as the Terror, humans have been mostly wiped out. … Travis shows a deft hand for detail, as shown by the police using a flock of pigeons to mark the outline of a dead body with their droppings.

Publishers Weekly

The 2nd novel involving the feline detective Benjamin Spriteman is another enjoyable offering from the author. At times grim, at times humorous, the story was rather lengthy, and very much in a 'classic' pattern where lots of apparently disjointed threads suddenly come together and present a meaningful mosaic. Recommended.

Riju Ganguly, a reader

To read a short interview with Mr. Travis please head to this page
which is part of the Atomic Fez Group on


Praise for The Terror and the Tortoiseshell:

A STAR! from “Publishers Weekly”!…quirky but compelling hard-boiled mystery… Travis packs a lot in, including a twisty whodunit plot, humorous sequences to leaven the grimness… Superior work with a… fully realized imaginary world.

Publishers Weekly

This book is so imaginative. It's funny, clever, quirky, and oh yeah, a mystery story too. I've never read a book of the same genre before, probably because I'm not sure there are other mystery / sci-fi / noire / dystopian / comedy books. I can't wait to read the next in the series, so get writing Mr. John Travis.

604Heather, a reader

John Travis has penned a novel that’’s sort of Animal Farm, partly classic noir, and definitely acid trippy weird — but all in a good, fun, highly readable and entertaining way.
     … The animals take on the jobs their people had so Benji becomes a private eye and begins his own journey. Hopefully, it’s one that continues for a long time.
     Very dark, but also funny in the sickest of ways. Here’s to hoping the world gets to enjoy much more of Benji--maybe if Atomic Fez offers a dimebag of catnip?

— Dave Simms; Horror World "Book Reviews"

I don't think I've yet made it clear how funny this book is. Since starting it, I've been going round with a smile on my face. That's not to diminish the 'terror' and the poignancy of what the reader feels underlying it all.

D.F. Lewis, as 'weirdmonger' (April 14th, April 16th, April 17th, and once more the same day; all in 2010

[John] Travis is an accomplished writer and… The Terror and the Tortoiseshell is an effective opening to a promising new series.

Colin Harvey; “Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction,” SUITE101

I was almost immediately pulled into the world of [The Terror and the Tortoiseshell] and I was constantly impressed with how deftly [John] Travis balances all of the elements that he introduces. He changes mood and tone with expert ease and none of the story’s elements draw undue attention to themselves…
     [By] the time I finished the novel (a quick and enjoyable read) I was certainly ready for more tales of Benji Spriteman and his post-Terror world. If you are looking for an engaging tale of mystery and horror that is designed to leave you thinking for a while, this book is definitely for you. I give this novel a firm 4 out of 5!

— Floyd Brigdon; Miscreant Assistant Editor/Reviewer; She Never

Fun premise providing solid genre with a twist, and after a shaky opening to set the table, Travis spins an engaging, medium-boiled yarn that hits all of the right genre notes, including the villain's egotistical monologue that wraps it all up in a mostly satisfying bow. It's more about the journey than the destination, though, and Travis' post-Terror world is populated with an intriguing cast that makes it worth the trip.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, a reader


Praise for Mr. Travis:

John Travis is one of the most imaginative and original new voices in dark fiction. His work is insightful, often surreal, and always moving. That his writing is not more widely published and appreciated is a crime, but trust me… John’s day will surely come.

Tim Lebbon (author of the award-winning ‘Noreela’ novels)

John Travis is a madcap cross between Monty Python and Clive Barker. His stories percolate like a popcorn machine full of jungle beetles!

Mark Mclaughlin

The Wonderful World of John Travis is one of literary beguilement, surreal chills and the kind of wry dark humour that makes you question your own reality. To reclaim an overused phrase: his work is unique in the field of weird fiction.

Gary McMahon

You are present at the flowering of wonderful new talent--an inspired and truly gifted writer by the name of John Travis.

Simon Clark, from his introduction to Mostly Monochrome Stories

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