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Practical Demonkeeping, Christopher Moore

The jacket copy on this first novel says that it has already been “bought by Hollywood Pictures for Disney Studios.” Which doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll see a movie of this anytime soon, given Hollywood’s tendancy to buy more than they produce. But it is interesting to think of Disney making a film in which a Demon eats people. Again, that isn’t to say that this wouldn’t make a good film, although I thought the best aspects here were things that wouldn’t translate well. There is, however, a good book here.

Travis O’Hearn is a young (in features) man with a problem–back in the early 1900s he accidentally summoned a demon and he can’t get rid of it. The real catch–or should I say, Catch, for that is the demon’s name–is that the demon feels the same way about Travis. What the demon would really like is a master that would let him do some real damage. There’s also a small town that’s about to meet these two in an intimate way, and your “wild card” player, who’s something like a djinn.

The way Moore intermixes myth and characters in this story is akin to James P. Blaylock’s The Last Coin, yet with a touch less style. That is, Moore’s got the plot, characters, and humor down, but he can’t match Blaylock’s literary wordsmithing. This is only his first novel, remember, and he could very well gain that style as he matures as a writer. There’s some clever literary in-jokes here for the horror fan, nicely done so that the non-fan won’t be left scratching their head. Definitely a delight.

[25 June 1994]


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