Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Ex Libris: Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends

Damn, that Christopher Moore is really funny.

I first heard about Bloodsucking Fiends from Canadian author/editor Claude Lalumière though I've seen a number of Christopher Moore's earlier books in second-hand bookshops around here.

This led me to try out his first book, Practical Demonkeeping, which was a stew pot of Elmore Leonard and Dave Barry with lots of weirdness thrown into it. Unfortunately, the book was generally a grin-a-minute read but nothing spectacular.

However, one thing great about Moore as a writer is that he keeps getting better as evidenced by sections I've read of his last book, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, which I got for [identity-protected]. Thus, I was pretty hopeful when I gave Moore one more chance to impress me with his take on one of horror's mainstays.

In essence: the story of Bloodsucking Fiends is the usual boy-meets-girl type of story except that it diverges into black comedy when the girl turns out to be a vampire and the boy tries to figure whether she's after his mind, his body or his blood.

Geez, even my review is trying to be funny.

Anyway, the dialogue is crisp and and fast-paced as Moore throws in quirky characters and imaginative complications into the mix.

As one half of the love story couple here, Tommy is a particularly solid character, a naive young wannabe-writer from Idaho who thinks that having a vampire as his girlfriend is par for the course in living in the big city.

Of course, most of us never encounter questions that Tommy has to deal with about matters of relationship and the heart in the course of the book. Or do we?

As a vampire's minion, Tommy fervently hopes not to end up like the bug-eating Renfew-- see Bram Stoker's Dracula-- but he can't help it especially when Jody asks him soap her back during shower-time. (Doesn't that describe the normal processes a guy has to go through in a relationship with a girl?)

One particularly laugh-out-loud sequence of events involves Tommy's efforts to study Jody's vampirism as well as his relationship with Jody:

Jody, a little overwhelmed, stared at the books. "There seems to be a theme here on the covers."
"Yeah, Tommy said, "Vampires seem to have an affinity for lingerie. Do you have any particular craving for sexy nightgowns?"
"Not really." Jody had always thought it a little sily to spend a lot of money on something that you only put on long enough for someone to take it off you. Evidently, though, if you went by these book covers, vampires looked at lingerie as garish.

There's also the matter of Tommy rubbing garlic while Jody is asleep, drowning her in a bath tub full of iced water to see if she's immortal, and touching a crucifix to her while keeping a fire extinguisher on hand.

I better stop though before I give everything else away.

Still, I'd like to finish with the conclusion that the book is a good read--entertaining and hilarious, nothing too heavy for someone who wants to relax.

(Now if I can only find [identity-protected]'s copy of Lamb...)

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