Thursday, 13 August 2015

Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

More demons please.
A number of years back, I believe (but cannot prove) that I read this book out of the Milford Haven library. I then found it in a second hand store in hardback whilst at university and read it again. Now, after an instance of maudlin self-pity, combined with wine (much wine) I ended up purchasing it again from a second-hand book store on line, along with Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, an act which I forgot until one day on return from work I realised I couldn't open my front door because something was jammed underneath it, a something which turned out to be these very books. What a lovely surprise, although I immediately checked my browser history and bank account to check I'd not purchased a fold-up bicycle or second-hand city car on my credit card, both items which I've been pondering in the last few weeks. It turns out I hadn't.

So, to prevent further rambling, the point is that this might have the distinction of being the first book that I believe have read for pleasure more than twice. That deserves a hurrah for Mr Moore.

The fact that I couldn't remember much about it, other than there's a bloody great demon named Catch who likes to eat people, tied inextricably to a chap named Travis who doesn't age and also doesn't like it when Catch eats people, would therefore indicate either early onset dementia (not ruled out) or that the story is significantly less entertaining that the idea. 

Messieurs Gaiman and Moore will
be pleased to note they were very
capable doorstops
To be fair to Mr Moore, when I realised what was preventing access to my home, I felt a warm rush of excitement. I was genuinely pleased to see it, and that means somewhere in the grey matter a long filed memory had coughed quietly, startling the record-keeper into a surprised fart, making his colleagues turn round in disgust and tut noisily to each other. That can only be good. And when I finished it yesterday, in time to start watching Gillette Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling, I was feeling happy. I would have rather seen more of the supporting cast eaten, including but not exclusively Robert (drunken hubby of Jenny, grand-daughter to Amanda, a figure from Travis's past) whose past in photography is suspiciously similar to that credited to Mr Moore on his Wikipedia page and provides the answer to a thorny plot issue, and Rachel, coven leader of the Pagan Vegetarians For Peace and deserving of a worse fate than driving off into the sunset with eventual hero Augustus Brine and his pet Djinn, both of whom could also do with a bit of being eaten, if I'm honest. In fact, the book is deserving of more Catch and less everyone else. I guess I'm just drawn to the caustically sarcastic spawn of Satan.

Nonetheless, all of my positive feelings remain post-novel, and I have gained no new negative bias against the work of Mr Moore, so on balance, I would have to say that this is a very entertaining work of comic fantasy, maybe worth a seat at the table with Messieurs Gaiman and Pratchett, or at least Robert Rankin, of whom nothing later, at all. EVER. 


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