I’ve been reading Christopher Moore novels lately. Ok, I read two recently and one last year.
I just finished “Practical Demon Keeping,” his first novel. It’s an entertaining story about a demon that eats people, the demon keeper who tries to stop the demon from eating too many people, and assorted people from the town who don’t want to be eaten.
Of course it incorporates elements of the early Catholic Church and Jewish traditions, from which most demon stories eventually draw some inspiration or ideas. Moore develops a compelling mythology that surprisingly holds together despite, or perhaps because of how brief it is. The ending is satisfying, but perhaps a bit rushed. A lot happens very quickly, and Moore seemed to still be developing his action writing abilities.
The writing is a bit rough at times, with some characters seeming more contrived (and cut-able) than others. There are some chapters that could be dropped, and others that could be expanded. The pace is a little uneven, and sometimes characters seem to be more stereotypes of themselves than necessary. Despite that, the story is compelling and I find myself cheering on the heroes, and booing the bad guys. It’s a fun story.
The book is funny, but a dark sort of way. If you have trouble laughing at the idea of people being eaten while others struggle against these absurd events, then you might want to avoid this book. Or any of Moore’s books for that matter. But if you can see the humor in the darkest corner, the book may be for you.
It’s not Dostoyevsky, but I wasn’t looking for that; I wanted a book I could lose myself in while on the plane and a book I wouldn’t have to think too much about. I found just that in Moore’s 242 pages.
I recommend it.
In Christopher Moore’s ingenious debut novel, we meet one of the most memorably mismatched pairs in the annals of literature. The good-looking one is one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian and "roads" scholar Travis O’Hearn. The green one is Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets. Behind the fake Tudor façade of Pine Cove, California, Catch sees a four-star buffet. Travis, on the other hand, thinks he sees a way of ridding himself of his toothy traveling companion. The winos, neo-pagans, and deadbeat Lotharios of Pine Cove, meanwhile, have other ideas. And none of them is quite prepared when all hell breaks loose.