Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Practical Demonkeeping Practical Demonkeeping
by Christopher Moore
Orbit Books

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Practical Demonkeeping relates the tale of Travis O’Hearn, his accidentally acquired demon companion Catch, and the impact these two have on the California seaside town of Pine Cove.

Travis and Catch are bound together in a relationship neither wants. Travis wants rid of Catch back to Hell, as Catch is a murderous demon; Catch wants rid of Travis because he has no ambition to rule the world thereby causing lots of human suffering in the attempt (Catch is experienced in megalomaniac masters). Working against them are the residents of Pine Cove aided by Gian Hen Gian, the king of the Djinn (who escaped from Hell with Catch 3,000 years before). A measure of the weirdness of Pine Cove is that Catch and Gian are not out place in the town.

Practical Demonkeeping is Christopher Moore’s first book (re-released by Orbit in 2008) and he has elected to write using a wry humorous style rather than in the blood and gore horror vein. Although death and mayhem occur, they are not dwelt on, but are presented as needed events to keep the story moving. After all, what’s the point of a murderous demon if he can’t devour a few people in the course of a chapter or two?

This book left me curious as to how Moore’s style had progressed and whether he could find humour in horror without resorting to the pratfall (happily, he has).

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