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Christopher Moore

REVIEW: You Suck by Christopher Moore

REVIEW: You Suck by Christopher Moore

Being undead sucks. Literally.

Just ask C. Thomas Flood. Waking up after a fantastic night unlike anything he’s ever experienced, he discovers that his girlfriend, Jody, is a vampire. And surprise! Now he’s one, too. For some couples, the whole biting-and-blood thing would have been a deal breaker. But Tommy and Jody are in love, and they vow to work through their issues.

But word has it that the vampire who initially nibbled on Jody wasn’t supposed to be recruiting. Even worse, Tommy’s erstwhile turkey-bowling pals are out to get him, at the urging of a blue-dyed Las Vegas call girl named (duh) Blue.

And that really sucks.

You Suck by Christopher MooreDear Mr. Moore,

I’m really glad I remembered so much about “Bloodsucking Fiends” because you just jump right into this story and woe to anyone who can’t keep up. The few hints and regroups and reminders scattered throughout the story do help but I doubt that anyone who hasn’t read book one in this series would be able to keep up with the pace.

It’s good to see Jody and C. Thomas “Tommy” Flood plus all the Animals, Cavuto and Rivera and, occasionally, Elijah again. Then there’s the all new Blue – the smurf hooker. My new favorites are Abby/Allison, who takes over as chief minion now that Tommy’s been turned, and her got-to-wait-til-almost-the-end-to-see-him-again sweet love-ninja boyfriend “Foo Dog” Steve. Steve and his awesomely cool UV light fighting gear are boss.

The action is fast and furious from the get-go and yet, to some extent, much of it seems like the same from BF. Jody is delighted with her powers, Tommy still wants to know all there is to know about vampires (or vampyres as goth-ishy Abby and her gay pal Jared spell it) only this time since he is one, he really wants to know WTF. Too bad Jody didn’t learn from Elijah all there is to being a foul undead while she could. The Animals are still stoners, playing skid the buzzard and basically useless slaves to the power of Blue’s HIV+ hoo-hah – bet they’ll be glad they were, even if so briefly, changed as well in order to kill that pesky virus. And maybe Drew’s knee is fixed too. Cavuto and Rivera still are behind the times about what’s going on but at least this go round they catch on more quickly that San Francisco is becoming vampire central. Though it looks like they’ll be stuck as coPs (as Abby says it) for a while instead of retired and playing golf.

As to the number of vampires we’re dealing with, Mah God, doesn’t that almost get out of control. And speaking of OoC, I briefly worried that this book would end somewhat as does “Dirty Job” and “BFs” in that category. Everyone’s getting changed, people are racing around trying to catch each other, kill each other and stay out of the sun before the mysterious 3 show up – those who seem to have the Ultimate Vampire power and last word. Now that I know there’s a book three to check out, I wonder if more will be learned about them and why Elijah slinks off with them when they say “Slink Off, 800 year old Dude” (to paraphrase as Abby does in her “annoying at first but later you get used to it” journal).

Don’t get me wrong, I had fun reading this book, loved to see all the former gang back, and whipped through it in 2 days yet so much of it felt like a reread of BF. Which, if I have to read a reread of a book I’ll gladly read it of this one however… I guess it goes to show how hard it is to write what people loved about the first book but more. “Yeah, I want it exactly like the first book but different.” Ah, well, I’m now looking forward to “Bite Me.”



REVIEW:  Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

REVIEW: Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Dear Mr. Moore,

A Dirty Job: A NovelA few things I know for sure when I start one of your books: it’ll be different, it’ll be funny, and somebody will die. In the case of this book, lots of people will die but then when the main character is a Death Merchant, it kind of goes with the territory.

I feel “Dirty Job” is a cross between the film “Jack and Sarah” and the short lived cable show “Dead Like Me.” Charlie is left to raise his daughter alone after his wife’s sudden death following the delivery and it’s at the moment of her death that he joins the others in San Francisco whose job it is to retrieve the object containing the soul of each dying person. No soul retrieval equals horrific Underworld upheaval. Like George, the teenage soul releaser who didn’t understand her job and didn’t initially want to do it, Charlie is left to flounder around until he finally gets his hands on “The Great Big Book of Death” (“The cover was shiny, like a children's picture book, with a colorful illustration of a grinning skeleton with tiny people impaled on his fingertips, and all of them appeared to be having the time of their lives, as if they were enjoying a carnival ride that just happened to involve having a gaping hole being punched through the chest. It was festive–"lots of flowers and candy in primary colors, done in the style of Mexican folk art. The Great Big Book of Death, was the title, spelled out across the top of the cover in cheerful, human femur font letters”) which is supposed to tell him about his job and how to do it yet which ultimately reveals little to Charlie. And like Jack, Charlie initially grieves wholeheartedly for his dead wife and spends way too many years with only his infant daughter and relatives to keep him sane.

I love the Beta Male analogies and descriptions,

Charlie's problem was that the trailing edge of his Beta Male imagination was digging at him like bamboo splinters under the fingernails. While Alpha Males are often gifted with superior physical attributes–"size, strength, speed, good looks–"selected by evolution over the eons by the strongest surviving and, essentially, getting all the girls, the Beta Male gene has survived not by meeting and overcoming adversity, but by anticipating and avoiding it. That is, when the Alpha Males were out charging after mastodons, the Beta Males could imagine in advance that attacking what was essentially an angry, woolly bulldozer with a pointy stick might be a losing proposition, so they hung back at camp to console the grieving widows. When Alpha Males set out to conquer neighboring tribes, to count coups and take heads, Beta Males could see in advance that in the event of a victory, the influx of female slaves was going to leave a surplus of mateless women cast out for younger trophy models, with nothing to do but salt down the heads and file the uncounted coups, and some would find solace in the arms of any Beta Male smart enough to survive. In the case of defeat, well, there was that widows thing again. The Beta Male is seldom the strongest or the fastest, but because he can anticipate danger, he far outnumbers his Alpha Male competition. The world is led by Alpha Males, but the machinery of the world turns on the bearings of the Beta Male.

and the fact that we get to see the Emperor of San Francisco and the troops again as well as a short cameo of Jodie, the vampire. The Morrigan, or Sewer Harpies as Charlie calls the trio of Underworld Undead Death Goddesses, are deliciously grisly in their eating habits, soulless in their efforts to grab souls before Charlie and the other Death Merchants can get them and relentless in their determination to regain their status and powers Aboveground. I really felt for poor detective Rivera– demons, owls, vampires and now Death Merchants and the Morrigan. I guess he didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he applied to join the SFPD. I also loved Minty’s wheels.

The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was the perfect show-off of death machines. It consisted of nearly three tons of steel stamped into a massively mawed, high-tailed beast, lined with enough chrome to build a Terminator and still have parts left over–"most of it in long, sharp strips that peeled off on impact and became lethal scythes to flay away pedestrian flesh. Under the four headlights it sported two chrome bumper bullets that looked like unexploded torpedoes or triple-G-cup Madonna death boobs. It had a noncollapsible steering column that would impale the driver upon any serious impact, electric windows that could pinch off a kid's head, no seat belts, and a 325 horsepower V8 with such appallingly bad fuel efficiency that you could hear it trying to slurp liquefied dinosaurs out of the ground when it passed. It had a top speed of a hundred and ten miles an hour, mushy, bargelike suspension that could in no way stabilize the car at that speed, and undersized power brakes that wouldn't stop it either. The fins jutting from the back were so high and sharp that the car was a lethal threat to pedestrians even when parked, and the whole package sat on tall, whitewall tires that looked, and generally handled, like oversized powdered doughnuts. Detroit couldn't have achieved more deadly finned ostentatia if they'd covered a killer whale in rhinestones. It was a masterpiece.

Now for me the middle section tended to drag a bit and I didn’t need to see Charlie collect quite so many souls. Also descriptions of SF (while Charlie patrolled), while nice, added too much length — something needed to be edited, tightened a bit. And how did hellhounds appear in first place? Did Sophie “call” them? Were they sent? By who? I’m not sure I want to know the details behind your research on Ray’s internet search for love in the Philippines and in Ukraine. Though Lily’s ultimate romantic partner was a stroke of genius.

My final grade dips because the plot gets a little out of control at the end, I’m not sure what to think about what happens to Charlie and Audrey, while seemingly a very nice — and gifted– young woman, is slightly freaky (gotta agree with Minty Fresh there), and the whole squirrel people bit is hard to wrap my brain around. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading about Charlie’s “Dirty Job.” B


Dirty Job can be purchased from A Dirty Job: A NovelAmazon or in ebook format from Fictionwise.