This is Why Dead Languages Are Important (Practical Demonkeeping – A Book Review)

Practical Demonkeeping (Pine Cove #1)

Author: Cristopher Moore

Published: 2004

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated D for a demented demon that finds enjoyment in cookie monster comic books

“Like one that on that lonesome road

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And having once turned round walks on,

And no more turns in his head;

Because he knows a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread.” (Pt. 1, p. 1)

A one-hundred-year old seminarian named Travis and a human-eating demon named Catch roll into Pine Cove. While the two of them look around town for Catch’s next meal, neither notice until it’s too late that the townspeople notice something isn’t right. Amid their own troubled and eccentric lives, they and a man claiming to be a Djinn make plans to stop this. Little do they know that Travis is already sure he’s found a way to rid himself of Catch and couldn’t be happier. Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan and sure enough, all hell breaks loose.

This is Moore’s debut novel. Honestly, the first one I read was actually, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (review here) which is the 2nd book in this series. LOL. The great thing about the Pine Cove series is that you can read it in whatever order that gets your goat going. Each story stands on its own with the only thing it having in common is its town and of course its characters.

This book always caught my eye but I’d never had a chance to get to it (but that’s how it always goes). I was so thrilled to get that chance. It’s ironic that a guy in training to do God’s work in ministry gets an unwanted demonic friend instead. Moore really connects with morbid and raucous comedy. Typically, I don’t get into comedy books because I don’t feel like they transfer to my brain well. Like, the funny doesn’t really sink in or something. Yet, Moore gets me. It’s nearly in the exact way that Neil Gaiman does. They both can snag my funny bone and cause me to keel over laughing. Sometimes, it’s so hard that I’m holding my ribs and rereading a passage about four times before moving on. I love it. I believe it’s that mixture of impeccable writing that carries so much intelligence and the action of incredulousness that get me going.

This book really gave me a deeper look into Pine Cove as a demon wreaked havoc. Seams typical. Probably a case for the Winchester Brothers. In all honesty, I can picture Jensen Ackles as Travis perfectly. Just sayin’. And Catch the demon? I’m still debating him. But it sure did get me going when the two would argue and it would look like Travis was carrying one with himself. Though, I don’t need the help of a demon. I talk with myself very well. LOL. Also, guys, this is a great example of why we should be learning dead languages in school. I know Greek is still alive, but Latin not so much. We don’t need to be summoning demons unknowingly. Or hell, summoning the wrong demon.

The spark of romance between Travis and Jenny is something I’ve really liked. It’s not central to the book, but a Sour Patch Kid addition to each of Moore’s books but I reverse. It’s sweet and then sour. I like that it’s not front and center and that Moore tackles it from a different perspective. That it can be timid, awkward and not so easy. Unfamiliar even.

Overall

Witty, intriguing, entertaining, and without a doubt, anything but practical. This really was a fantastic book. I have yet to come across a book of Moore’s I hate and I am assuming I never will. I know, it’s a lot to assume, but I’m going for it. If you enjoy strange and hilarious and in many cases paranormal, go with this book. It’s a good time.

Quotables:

“On Billy Winston’s private list of personal heroes, The Breeze ranked second only to David Bowie.” (p.4)

“The prospect of change is a many-fanged beast, my dear, it is not, however, appropriate to pay fearful obeisance to that beast by cowering in the ruins of my stemware while you have orders up.” (H. P., p.52)

He is an abomination of such abysmal hideousness that the mere recollection of this monstrosity perambulating in the dark outside my domicile fills me with the preternatural chill of the charnel house.” (p. 116)

“He’s not an Earth spirit—he’s a demon. How can you be so stupid?” (Travis, p. 206)

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

P. S. Song today? Bad Moon Rising by Creedence and Clearwater.

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