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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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Jason Magalia, CA, USA 04-08-10
    Jason Magalia, CA, USA 04-08-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Funny stuff"

    Kept me smiling throughout.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 10-05-09
    Diane 10-05-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Pretty Good though not Moore's best"

    It comes down, as it so often does, to the narrator. And actually, this narrator wasn't bad. If I had heard him before I listened to "The Stupidest Angel" I would not have minded him at all - except that he didn't find out how to pronounce the place names correctly! San Jue-neh-pair-oh??????

    That being said, this was a fine book. It is, if I am correct, Christopher Moore's first book, so I made a few allowences because it is not as funny as "The Stupidest Angel" or "Lamb" but it is pretty good and "San Jue-neh-pair-oh" aside, I will listen to it again.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Beadle Granite City, IL United States 07-11-14
    Jennifer Beadle Granite City, IL United States 07-11-14 Member Since 2013

    book spirit

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    "Demons, Seniors and Djinn - O My!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Practical Demonkeeping to be better than the print version?

    I don't know if it's better, but I certainly enjoyed the audio version. All of Moore's books that I have listened to are so much fun.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Practical Demonkeeping?

    I suppose when the demon killed the drug dealer at the beginning of the book. I really wasn't expecting that. I thought he was the main character, but nope - he was gone.


    What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

    The narrator was superb. He really knew how to read the book and keep you interested.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Sometimes you need to throw your Catch back.


    Any additional comments?

    This was just a fun listen - pure entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katya A new york 06-04-14
    Katya A new york 06-04-14
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    "Pretty Good though not Moore's best"

    I like Christopher Moore. He does not take his writing too seriously. His books have some interesting bits of Science Fiction or Fantasy and some laugh-out-loud moments, approachable and likable characters and the plot that balances well on the edge of silliness.

    The ending felt a little cowardly - all loose end swiped under the rug and happily-ever-afters all around. Which is our collective fault as a readers that demand all the sugary happily-ever-afters. Just look at the mountain of angry letters that GRR Martin receives after each of his books come out. But now i'm way of the subject here.

    Practical Demonkeeping is hilarious and inventive. Great plot with many twists. Strong,diverse characters make this a pare turner.

    The narrator is great.

    I would definitely recommend it for a fun summer listen
    :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon 03-11-14
    Brandon 03-11-14 Member Since 2008

    shimatta

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    "Great Author"
    What did you love best about Practical Demonkeeping?

    After the first book I read of Christopher Moore I decided I had to get every one. I enjoyed these as audio books probably more than in paperback. His mix of comedy and drama elements worked well and made for an enjoyable book and series


    What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

    I think he did all the voices well and it really drew me in - made me forget I was listening to one reader.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes - there was a lot going on and it never seemed like a good time to take a break


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Delta, BC, Canada 11-19-12
    Larry Delta, BC, Canada 11-19-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Another fun Moore tale"
    If you could sum up Practical Demonkeeping in three words, what would they be?

    Simply a fun trip through Moore's imagination


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

    My favorite is still Moore's The Stupidest Angel


    Any additional comments?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Norfolk, VA, United States 10-23-12
    Richard Norfolk, VA, United States 10-23-12 Member Since 2010

    I'm an avid reader who loves having my hands free to work or engage in other projects.

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    "Fear and Loathing in Pine Cove..."

    I have been a fan of Mr. Moore's writing for several years, and this book does not change that... However, this book does cause me to view the author in a different light. This book is grimly entertaining. The author's sense of humor is tempered here by some kind of darkness, that while present in some of his other books, seems colder here.
    I kept thinking about Hunter S. Thompson, and how his gonzo journalistic style opened my eyes as a reader. This book reminded me of that writing. Mr. Moore's characters, no matter if they are a central figure in the story, or merely a side note, are described in such a way as to become archetypes.
    Not one character in the book is particularly likable, yet, they are each very unique in that. I disliked them each for their own particular flaws. It was like working with someone that you tolerate, and small talk with, but you'd never hang out with during your off time. So real that they are surreal.
    This does not make the book any less enjoyable. The pacing is quick, but flows well enough, and the narration is crisp. I do feel that Oliver Wyman's female voices are kind of a stretch for him, but overall he was a pleasure to listen to. Catch was a surprise.
    If you are a fan of Christopher Moore, you will enjoy this book, but I wouldn't recommend it as a new reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Merlyns Daughter N.Y. USA 10-03-12
    Merlyns Daughter N.Y. USA 10-03-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Funny"
    Any additional comments?

    I first read this book in the library years ago and was happy when I found the audio version on audible. It's a funny story, and Christopher Moore has a style that always keeps you on your toes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Matthews, NC, United States 05-28-12
    Linda Matthews, NC, United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Catch as Catch Can"

    A demon named Catch that can be seen by most only in his "eating" form, an accidental and reluctant demon keeper, the salt-seeking king of the Djinn choosing Augustus Brine as his knight errant, flour explosions as invisible quarry tracking strategy (saw that on "Alphas" on TV last year as well), uneasy romance and murder -- it is a quirky cast. The book is entertaining in a frequently clever and occasionally vulgar sort of way. The demon may be the most rational of all. Good listen...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. O'Malley 05-10-12
    M. O'Malley 05-10-12 Member Since 2011

    O'Malley

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    "Death by a Casey Kasem impersonator"

    So, I thought I would try a new author. The story was good, not great, but enjoyable. The narration was horrible! The guy sounded like Casey Kasem, and it got old real fast. The story made me keep listening but I will never by a book with this narrator again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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