The Album of Dr. Moreau
“. . . a quirky extension of the H. G. Wells story, filled with animal puns, dialogue reeking with black humor, as well as an ending guaranteed to satisfy.”
When a group of human/animal hybrids were discovered in an abandoned lifeboat, no one knew that in a few years, they would become the WyldBoyZ, the world’s top boy band.
It happened, however, and now, it’s 2001, and WyldBoyZ has, unknown to its adoring public, given its last concert. The band has called it quits, informing their manager they are suing him to get back ownership of all the songs they’ve written and he claimed to have composed, and quite a few other thefts.
The manager, calling himself Dr. Moreau, had responded with threats of his own, a good bit of them revolving around events happening when the BoyZ escaped from the sinking ship where they had been born/created.
But—the show must go on, and as usual, there was a party afterward—an orgy, to be truthful—certain to guarantee everyone hangovers to the nth degree when they awoke.
Only, this time, the headaches will be caused by something other than the alcohol and drugs the partygoers have imbibed.
In the morning, Dr. Moreau is found dead in his room. Murdered.
Also in the room, blissfully asleep in Moreau’s bed is bandmember Bobby O, who swears he didn’t see the body when he was looking for a spare bed in which to crash.
Luce Delgado of the Las Vegas Police and her partner are assigned to the case, putting Luce on a spot. Luce’s daughter Melinda is a WyldBoyZ fan, and it doesn’t sit well that her mother has now arrested one of the band members for murder.
Moreau (real name Maurice Bendix) had quite a few enemies, as did most showbiz people, but the band members are at the top of the list.
The suspects are:
“Devin, the romantic one, three-quarters bonobo; Tim the shy one, a large percentage pangolin; Matt, the funny one, was a giant bat; and Tusk, the smart one.”
And of course, there’s Bobby O, mostly ocelot. (“O is for Ocelot! We luv a lot!)
All admit they didn’t like Moreau. Tim sums up their dislike in two sentences: “He’s a hybrid, too—ten percent human, ninety percent scumbag. He was conning us from the beginning.”
When Delgado delves into their backgrounds, especially how they escaped from the research ship, and of that ship’s mysterious origins, everyone clams up, except Matt.
“‘We don’t talk about this. That’s our rule. Not to the press, and hardly to each other.’”
Luce soon determines Bobby isn’t the murderer, but that leaves more suspects to eliminate. Then security cam footage is found of someone in a bloody chipmunk costume leaving the suite. It’s obviously the murderer, but who is behind that fat-cheeked, big-eyed mask?
And who is Sofia? Merely a name featuring prominently in a song or another hybrid, left to die on the burning ship from which the BoyZ escaped?
Walking a delicate tightrope of legalities (Are the BoyZ animals? Are they human? Are they both? What rights do they have?) Luce Delgado has her work cut out for her—solving the case, bringing justice to a group whose humanity is still in question, and not breaking her eight-year-old daughter’s heart in the process.
Told in the form of a letter written to Luce’s daughter Melanie, now a rock star in her own right, and dated May 18, 2021, the entire case is detailed, especially Melanie’s influence on the outcome.
Though the origin and nationality of the “scientific research ship” is never fully revealed, enough information is supplied from the BoyZ’s hazy memories to determine it was funded by a government uncaring that they were bringing into existence sentient beings and likewise disposing of them with no hint of regret.
Their escape, rescue, and rapid climb to fame after being interviewed on national television is related by turns with anger, humor, wit, and naïvité.
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 revealing the complete lack of empathy by the scientists for their “creations,” who see them only as “experiments.”
Though deceased before the novel starts, manager Moreau reflects this same unconcern throughout the narration as the BoyZ explain how he stole their music as well as their money, abusing them financially while the scientists abused them physically and mentally.
The Album of Dr. Moreau is 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.