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Practical Demonkeeping | [Christopher Moore]

Practical Demonkeeping

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Travis and Catch come to the small town of Pine Cove, California, and that's when the trouble begins. You'd probably say Travis is a nice, good-looking kid, except he isn't really a kid at all, but a man who hasn't aged a day since World War I. Catch is the reason Travis hasn't aged a day; he's a demon, bound to Travis, and an albatross around his neck. Catch might not be so bad if it weren't for his habit of eating people, but in some relationships there are certain flaws one just can't be expected to overlook. And so Travis comes to Pine Cove in the hopes of finding the answer that will let him free himself of this curse and send Catch back to where he can't eat his friends and neighbors.

Moore describes Practical Demonkeeping as a "whimsical horror novel", but perhaps "demonic ensemble comedy" is more apropos. "Ensemble" is the important part of that description, for it's really the interactions between the characters that makes this story sing. The characters range from Gian Hen Gian, King of the Djinn, to the waitress Jenny whose only extraordinary talent is having the exceptional bad luck to get involved in this mess in the first place, to H.P., a man who might just be a little too obsessed with Lovecraft. The plot itself is nothing revolutionary, but how it unfolds is enjoyable from start to finish, and the listener will likely be surprised and amused along the way as it is unveiled what parts each of the ensemble cast play.

Oliver Wyman's general narrative voice has a youthful quality to it, with a wry, but good-natured tone which fits despite the sometimes dark turns the story takes (unavoidable when you have a primary character who tends to eat people). He provides each character with his or her own distinct voice, going above and beyond the call of duty with the guttural and abrasive — but somehow endearing! — growl of Catch.

Without the embellishment of an actor's reading, Moore's writing is quite fun and funny on the page, but as with many humorous works, the right narrator can take lively prose and make it even livelier — and this is one of those performances that truly elevates the text to a different level. Wyman, a veteran cartoon voiceover actor before turning his talents to audiobook narration, ably employs the skills of the former to strengthen and diversify the skills of the latter. Wyman's style isn't ideal for everything — reading a serious nonfiction book wouldn't be his forte — but for a book like this, which is practically a cartoon in prose form already, it's hard to imagine a better match. —John Joseph Adams

Publisher's Summary

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 100-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.

©1992 Christopher Moore; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Martin Cork, Ireland 02-01-10
    Martin Cork, Ireland 02-01-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gets better as it goes ......"

    I had previously listened to Fool which I thought was both an excellent story and very well narrated. I was a bit reluctant to try this one as I feared a let down. Initially I was a little underwhelmed, having listened to a few chapters. as it took a while for the characters and the humour to develop. I persevered and it hooked me in the end. I think this may be his first book(?) and there is a feel he is developing his craft and finding his voice and pacing. The narrator was good - the voice of the demon caused me to jump a few times (probably not a good thing when you are driving). The book title (and art) should be enough to let you know what style of story it is - if you like Gaiman or Pratchett, this might be for you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashanti Calumet Park, IL, United States 10-23-09
    Ashanti Calumet Park, IL, United States 10-23-09 Member Since 2004
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    "A credit well spent"

    Christopher Moore doesn't disappoint. This book is as entertaining, quirky, and offbeat as I have grown to expect from Moore. After having read several of his books, Moore has set the bar somewhat high for me and although I've liked certain works more than others, I've never been let down by any of them.

    The narrator chosen for this book did a great job as well.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 08-24-11
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 08-24-11 Member Since 2005
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    "I named my cat after the demon Catch"

    Origional and AWESOME! I've like all CM's books and this one is worth your time.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Smyth 04-03-10
    Aaron Smyth 04-03-10 Member Since 2007
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    "HIS BEST BOOK!"

    This was a great book...Christopher Moore is proof that their is still witty and irreligious writing this side of the Atlantic (being the American side, in my case) that is also fun and madcap. He's almost as funny as Douglas Adams, but thankfully much more serious than Terry Pratchett (and does shy away from sex like Terry does so often), Catch is so EVIL yet hilarious...a much better book than his most famous "Lamb"(only famous for its Life of Brian approach), and the narration by Wyman is EXCELLENT (better than Fisher Stevens!) BUY THIS BOOK!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Lexington, KY 05-21-13
    Amazon Customer Lexington, KY 05-21-13 Member Since 2011

    I spend a large amount of my income on books. I mean, a lot. Seriously. It's a problem.

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    "Terrible!"
    Would you try another book from Christopher Moore and/or Oliver Wyman?

    I have tried several. I like his style, but man, it's hard to get on board with several of his storylines. This one was pretty bad.


    What could Christopher Moore have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I like that he takes really extreme things and puts them in mundane situations. In the case of this book, though, I didn't like any of the characters.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Oliver Wyman’s performances?

    I HATED his voicing of the demon. It was so irritating.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Practical Demonkeeping?

    Oh geez, over half of it. Too convoluted.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Bailey South Carolina 11-14-12
    Jennifer Bailey South Carolina 11-14-12 Member Since 2011

    @tryjen

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    "Witty as Always"
    Would you try another book from Christopher Moore and/or Oliver Wyman?

    Yes, and I have!


    What other book might you compare Practical Demonkeeping to and why?

    It's like a far less witty Discworld book easy on the Britishisms.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Skinner the dog. I would listen to Skinner's inner monologue forever!


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, I enjoyed this book, but didn't love it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Grinnell, IA, United States 02-21-12
    Karen Grinnell, IA, United States 02-21-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not my favorite Christopher Moore, but still fun."

    I love Christopher Moore stories, the way he tells a great story and adds an element of the absurd. This was a good, easy listen. He has written some better stories, however, this was still fun. I loved he voice used for the demon. One of the reasons I like to read Moore's stories are that they are just fun and provides a few hours of escape. The characters are always so unique and intriguing. This one had some great characters as well, including the demon and provided a few hours of fun.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MrTrusty 10-04-09
    MrTrusty 10-04-09 Member Since 2013
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    "FUN!"

    This is another great book by Moore. I strongly suggest A Dirty Job, this is a close second.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Kailua, HI United States 08-24-09
    Amazon Customer Kailua, HI United States 08-24-09 Member Since 2009

    Pay Attention or Pay Cash!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Vivid characters and detail"

    This may as well be a picture book with all the detail Christopher puts into his writting. You can feel it when the demon eats a person right down to the bone snapping details.

    Mahalo!
    Joe

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan CA, United States 05-21-13
    Ryan CA, United States 05-21-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Impractical Storytelling"

    Wow did this suck. The disjointed plot's major conflict couldn't get me to invest and the characters were boring...which would have been fine if the book lived up to the humor promised in other reviews.

    That's not to say I'm not a fan of this brand of humor. Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Robert Aspin, Neil Gaiman, Kurt Vonnegut, and their ilk were mother's milk to me growing up. You can tell this book aspires to it, but didn't quite reach it.

    I will say this, even those other authors I cited turned in some lame work, and while I think this is one of Chris Moore's strikeouts, I've also read two of his home runs. I highly recommend those two other books: 'A Dirty Job' and 'Fluke'.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
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