You Suck by Christopher Moore
|You Suck by Christopher Moore|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: More hilarity as the incompetent undead stalk the mean streets of San Francisco and the aisles of Safeway. Moore sticks to the formula, but it continues to work.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: August 2009|
You know that old adage about books and covers? Well this is a case in point. The title isn't great, but the cover design for the paperback imprint is, like, duh!, the pits. It is so uncool…so unrep-resent-ative of the book. This is not a cocktail thing. Not even a Bloody Mary thing.
Well, except for the tiny bit that is, but you'll discover that in due course.
This book is about the dark lords, Nosferatu, the undead, an underworld of crime which is genuinely underworld. Its cover should be dark and bleak and gothic (in a post-modern city kind of way).
At least that's what Abby Normal would say. Probably does say in one of the excerpts of her diary that don't make their way into the main text.
As it is also about a bunch of night-shift shelf-stackers from Safeway, who have just blown $600,000 on a weekend in Vegas (none of it actually gambling), the frivolous cocktail shot probably isn't that far adrift.
C Thomas Flood is one of the newly undead, and he is not happy about it. His transition resulted in a great deal of mayhem and murder… insofar as you can murder someone already dead. At the end of the last instalment (Blood Sucking Fiends) an ancient vampire, together with a presumably innocent tortoise and Flood's former girlfriend have been encased in bronze. Forget silver bullets, garlic and stakes-through-hearts. You cannot kill vampires. The best you can hope for is to contain them until you and yours are long dead and buried and therefore, hopefully, no longer care. Bronze works well, so long as it is hermetically sealed. No gaps.
It doesn't work quite so well, if you drill holes in the ears of the statute so that your erstwhile girlfriend can hear you ranting about small, irrelevant details such as her having killed you. Flood didn't know this. He also didn't know about the Vampire-to-mist trick, which enables them to get into and out of anywhere not totally airtight. Jody did know both of these things.
She's back. Just as well. Tommy Flood is having difficulties with the practicalities of being a vampire. He needs her help.
As if death weren't difficult enough already, the cops are on their trail and the Safeway Turkey Bowling Crew (vampire-hunters elite) are torn between saving the City, not ratting on a friend, and the improbably gorgeous, seriously endowed, totally blue (in a very literal sense) whore they've brought home from Vegas. Not ratting on a friend doesn't appear to be heading the agenda.
And where does Abby fit into all of this? Like any romantic part-time-Goth teenager, she has an eye for the dark-side and an ear for poetry. Flood might not look like a Vampire (the plaid shirt and jeans thing!)… but he can quote Lord Byron… Oh yeah, and he does have, like, these real, gum-bursting-while-you-watch fangs. She is smitten and therefore ripe to be taken.
Not to say willing.
It was never like this in Whitby.
Bram Stoker must be rolling in his grave. Or maybe just rocking with laughter. He was after all a friend of the legendary Oscar Wilde, and therefore presumably shared the sense of humour of the great wit of the age, and would love the absurd lengths that Christopher Moore extrapolates the vampire legends.
Absurdity is Moore's keynote. He takes every situation to its extremity and finds the humour that lurks around the edges. He doesn't just poke fun at the horror genre, but uses it as a way of looking at the true weirdness of life as we live it. In this case, it's the pretentious young who take most of the stick. The wannabes: wannabe 18th century romantic; wannabe 21st century gangsta; wannabe be slave-minion-but-with-a-teeny-bit-power-in-the-afterlife. Whatever.
They might not forgive him, but they should: because we crusties remember being exactly like that and that is the only reason it's funny.
It is funny. You need to be on the right wavelength, and you need to be able to ride out Moore's unnecessary over-use of sexual innuendo and foul language (both of which overstep the mark into gratuitous on occasion).
As with some other authors, Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett for instance, you either get Moore or you don't. Comedy hits or misses depend upon the reader as much as the writer. If Moore has missed you to date, he'll continue to do so.
Those who are tuned in won't be disappointed by the latest offering. Those who've yet to find out have nothing to lose by starting here. There are cross references to preceding novels, guest appearances by Charlie Asher and the Emperor, but they're not essential to the fun and frivolity of this one.
A great airport read – the perfect antidote to travel delays and fractious fellow-travellers. Enjoy.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If you're not already a Moore fan check out the author page for previously reviewed books – or for more in the same vein... try Laurell Hamilton or for more gentle humour and an altogether lighter touch Stephenie Meyer.
You can read more book reviews or buy You Suck by Christopher Moore at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy You Suck by Christopher Moore at Amazon.com.
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