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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Practical Demonkeeping

Christopher Moore is far and away my favorite author.  I own every novel he's written,
read most of them multiple times, and no longer require any information other than the
fact a new one is coming out to pre-order.  Admittedly, I read his often hilarious
works out of order, and it's a good thing.  Had I started with his first published
novel, Practical Demonkeeping, I'd either be incredibly impressed by his evolution over
the last 20 years or I would have been shocked his career lasted this long.  That's not
to say it's a bad book, just not one to hinge the two decades of success he's had.

Set in the fictional small town of Pine Cove, California, Practical Demonkeeping
introduces us to an entire town of slightly-off, small-town characters, all of whom
have slightly-off, small town issues.  From the owner of the local bait shop/general
store, to the workers in the local diner, to the local bar where everyone knows your
name, Pine Cove is an "everyone-knows-everyone" setting.  So when Travis O'Hearn shows
up with his sometimes-invisible demon, Catch, all hell breaks loose.  You see, Catch
eats people, and has been eating people for a very long time, and the sudden
disappearance and death of people in tiny Pine Cove sets the town on its ear.  A djinn
tasked with defeating Catch has also traveled to Pine Cove and aligns itself with the
local bait shop owner, Augustus Brine, and they search for a way to stem Catch's
appetite for destruction.

Moore does a really good job of taking stock characters and making them into a
believable small town. These are characters he re-uses in several of his later works,
which extends the payoff in investing in these characters.  Having read his entire
bibliography, it is difficult to separate this from the larger universe he's created in
Pine Cove, but when you do you find that this story is the weakest of them all.  Again,
not to say it's bad, just to say I'm spoiled by his later work.  I wouldn't recommend
someone new to this author read this novel first.  It is however, worth reading.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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