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
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.
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.
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!
I am a life architect who has created the perfect life for me. "We got it made!"
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.
I spend a large amount of my income on books. I mean, a lot. Seriously. It's a problem.
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.
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.
I HATED his voicing of the demon. It was so irritating.
Oh geez, over half of it. Too convoluted.
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'.
Simply a fun trip through Moore's imagination
My favorite is still Moore's The Stupidest Angel
Yes, and I have!
It's like a far less witty Discworld book easy on the Britishisms.
Skinner the dog. I would listen to Skinner's inner monologue forever!
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but didn't love it.
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