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
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
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'.
The entire story is darkly funny, the characters are lovable, and the conclusion is supremely satisfying. I was sad when this was over!
Christopher Moore's books are always a good choice for a fun and entertaining story. Good voice work keeps the characters distinguished from each other.
Great story, as all by Christopher Moore, my only complaint would be:
The ending, it seemed kind of rushed, compared to the tempo of the book. Cheaply finished, overall an excellent read!
This is my 4th book by Christopher Moore and whilst I enjoyed this one it definitely wasn't as engaging and his others. I didn't get attached to any of the characters in the way I did with Dirty Job. If you like the author then don't skip this one but maybe try some others first
Let me preface this review with the fact that I'm a huge Christopher Moore fan. I've read and loved many of his later books, and I wanted to go back to the beginning, so I decided to pick his first novel "Practical Demonkeeping" up. That said, it was unmistakably his first novel, and I'm really glad his writing has improved and that he has since become the writer he is today.
It was difficult to get through. It starts off ok enough, not super enthralling, but not boring, and then it just drags all through the middle. It took me a while to finish because reading it felt like a chore. It starts to pick up again at the end though, and he finishes it pretty nicely. I'm still going to read the rest of this Pine Cove series, because I feel pretty confident that it must get better. He really is (or at least has become) an excellent writer, and the actual concept for the story isn't bad. I can definitely see the following books in this series being worth reading. I guess I'll find out though.
I started reading Christopher Moore's books at You Suck. Hilarious with memorable characters. Lamb should become the 5th gospel.
Good narrator, fine characters, decent plot. Christopher Moore is always a fun, slightly twisted escape but this is not one of his better books. Nowhere near his fantastic "Dirty Jobs".
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