Friday, June 12, 2009


Just finished a mini-marathon of Christopher Moore novels. Anyone who likes absurdist humor writing, with naughtiness and ironic criticism of sacred cows, and not a little bit of grossness and weirdness, then I encourage you to pick up some of his books. There are times when reading his work that I simply can’t stop giggling. He has become one of my favorite authors.

First up was The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, a return visit to the community of Pine Grove, whose denizens first had to deal with a human-eating monster in Practical Demonkeeping. This time the human-eating monster is a horny, shapeshifting water dragon whose intense vibes can draw his prey willingly and cause uncontrollable horniness in depressed humans. Desperate to wreak revenge upon a blues singer for causing him much pain, he causes confusion and chaos in the small coastal community. Wacky characters include a pot-smoking, but likable and honest local lawman; a greedy, porpoise-loving (and I mean "loving") pharmacist; a confused biologist who studies rats; and an ex-B-movie starlet who falls in love with the giant lizard. I regularly think Moore might have an interest in zoophilia himself, if not all brands of kinkiness. Nevertheless, the troubling arrival of the lusty lizard leads to the uncovering of mysterious going-ons on ranch land that boarders the town. Overall, it was a fun read, though not quite as good as Practical, and not nearly as good as some of Moore’s other books.

From the coastline of California we turn to the isolated Pacific island of Aluala in Island of the Sequined Love Nun, a tale of a disgraced private-jet pilot who had worked for a Mary Kay-like boss, but who is now given a shot at redemption as a pilot to medical missionaries---but he soon discovers a dark undertone to his new job. Another set of unusual characters populate Moore’s new world: a cross-dressing Filipino navigator, a determined old cannibal intent on reestablishing the old ways of his people, a talking fruit bat, a ghost of a WWII bomber pilot, and an outspoken (feminist?) pleasure woman for the island’s males. The protagonist, Tucker Case, fits the mold of many of Moore’s heros, wise-cracking never-the-wells with sympathetic, and often just, hearts. This story was excellent and enjoyable.

The two previous novels worked well in preparing me for the best read of the three. . .A Dirty Job. Now, for anyone who watched and enjoyed the television series Dead Like Me, I encourage them to pick up this novel. Charlie Asher has just had his world turned upside down, with the death of his beloved wife and the duties of taking care of his newborn daughter; he soon discovers that he is responsible for delivering souls, and that his daughter has sinister powers. With his new job come perils posed by a trio of nasty feathered female demons from the sewers and foot-tall creatures that seem put together haphazardly from various animal parts, often sporting unusual dress. The required cast of crazies includes a lesbian sister who likes to wear her brother’s expensive suits; the Emperor of San Francisco (who I think is based on a real historical character in the city), a goth clerk who accidently finds out the true nature of her boss; an ex-cop searching for his true love on the Internet; an intrepid, world-wise detective who has his eyes on Charlie; and a pair of huge hellhounds. I enjoy the character Minty Fresh, a giant black man with a penchant for saving his friends and who falls for Lily (the goth girl); he was a minor character in the very enjoyable Coyote Blue. Pulled together with humor and weirdness is are underlying themes of love, family, spirituality, and responsibility. No one I have talked to who has read this book has said they didn’t enjoy it.

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