The town psychiatrist has decided to switch everybody in Pine Cove, California, from their normal antidepressants to placebos, so naturally—well, to be accurate, artificially—business is booming at the local blues bar. Trouble is, those lonely slide-guitar notes have also attracted a colossal sea beast named Steve with, shall we say, a thing for explosive oil tanker trucks. Suddenly, morose Pine Cove turns libidinous and is hit by a mysterious crime wave, and a beleaguered constable has to fight off his own gonzo appetites to find out what's wrong and what, if anything, to do about it.
About the Author
Christopher Moore is the author of twelve previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, Fool, and Bite Me. He lives in San Francisco, California.
Hometown:Hawaii and San Francisco, California
Date of Birth:August 5, 1958
Place of Birth:Toledo, Ohio
Read an Excerpt
As dead people went, Bess Leander smelled pretty good: lavender, sage, and a hint of clove. There were seven Shaker chairs hung on pegs on the walls of the Leanders' dining room. The eighth was overturned under Bess, who hung from the peg by a calico cloth rope around her neck. Dried flowers, baskets of various shapes and sizes, and bundles of dried herbs hung from the open ceiling beams.
Theophilus Crowe knew he should be doing cop stuff, but he just stood there with two emergency medical technicians from the Pine Cove Fire Department, staring up at Bess as if they were inspecting the newly installed angel on a Christmas tree. Theo thought the pastel blue of Bess's skin went nicely with her cornflower-blue dress and the patterns of the English china displayed on simple wooden shelves at the end of the room. It was 7 A.M. and Theo, as usual was a little stoned.
Theo could hear sobs coming from upstairs, where Joseph Leander held his two daughters, who were still in their nightgowns. There was no evidence of a masculine presence anywhere in the house. It was Country Cute: bare pine floors and bent willow baskets, flowers and rag dolls and herb-flavored vinegars in blown-glass bottles; Shaker antiques, copper kettles, embroidery samplers, spinning wheels, lace doilies, and porcelain placards with prayers from the Dutch. Not a sports page or remote control in sight. Not a thing out of place or a speck of dust anywhere. Joseph Leander must have walked very light to live in this house without leaving tracks. A man lesssensitive than Theo might have called him whipped.
"That guy's whipped," one of the EMTs said. His name was Vance McNally. He was fifty-one, short and muscular, and wore his hair slicked back with oil, just as he had in high school. Occasionally, in his capacity as an EMT, he saved lives, which was his rationalization for being a dolt the rest of the time.
"He just found his wife hanging in the dining room, Vance," Theo pronounced over the heads of the EMTs. He was six-foot-six, and even in his flannel shirt and sneakers he could loom large when he needed to assert some authority.
"She looks like Raggedy Ann," said Mike, the other EMT, who was in his early twenties and excited to be on his first suicide call.
"I heard she was Amish," Vance said.
"She's not Amish," Theo said.
"I didn't say she was Amish, I just said I heard that. I figured she wasn't Amish when I saw the blender in the kitchen. Amish don't believe in blenders, do they?"
"Mennonite," Mike said with as much authority as his junior status would afford.
"What's a Mennonite?" Vance asked.
"Amish with blenders."
"She wasn't Amish," Theo said.
"She looks Amish," Vance said.
"Well, her husband's not Amish," Mike said.
"How can you tell?" Vance said. "He has a beard."
"Zipper on his jacket," Mike said. "Amish don't have zippers."
Vance shook his head. "Mixed marriages. They never work."
"She wasn't Amish!" Theo shouted.
"Think what you want, Theo, there's a butter chum in the living room. I think that says it all."
Mike rubbed at a mark on the wall beneath Bess's feet where her black buckled shoes had scraped as she convulsed.
"Don't touch anything," Theo said.
"Why? She can't yell at us, she's dead. We wiped our feet on the way in," Vance said.
Mike stepped away from the wall. "Maybe she couldn't stand anything touching her floors. Hanging was the only way."
Not to be outdone by the detective work of his protégé, Vance said, "You know, the sphincters usually open up on a hanging victimleave an awful mess. I'm wondering if she actually hanged herself."
"Shouldn't we call the police?" Mike said.
"I am the police," Theo said. He was Pine Cove's only constable, duly elected eight years ago and reelected every other year thereafter.
"No, I mean the real police," Mike said.
"I'll radio the sheriff," Theo said. "I don't think there's anything you can do here, guys. Would you mind calling Pastor Williams from the Presbyterian church to come over? I need to talk to Joseph and I need someone to stay with the girls."
"They were Presbyterians?" Vance seemed shocked. He had really put his heart into the Amish theory.
"Please call," Theo said. He left the EMTs and went out through the kitchen to his Volvo, where he switched the radio over to the frequency used by the San Junipero Sheriff's Department, then sat there staring at the mike. He was going to catch hell from Sheriff Burton for this.
"North Coast is yours, Theo. All yours," the sheriff had said. My deputies will pick up suspects, answer robbery calls, and let the Highway Patrol investigate traffic accidents on Highway 1, that's it. Otherwise, you keep them out of Pine Cove and your little secret stays secret." Theo was forty-one years old and he still felt as if he was hiding from the junior high vice principal, laying low. Things like this weren't supposed to happen in Pine Cove. Nothing happened in Pine Cove.
He took a quick hit from his Sneaky Pete smokeless pot pipe before keying the mike and calling in the deputies.
Joseph Leander sat on the edge of the bed. He'd changed out of his pajamas into a blue business suit, but his thinning hair was still sticking out in sleep horns on the side. He was thirty-five, sandy-haired, thin but working on a paunch that strained the buttons of his vest. Theo sat across from him on a chair, holding a notepad. They could hear the sheriff's deputies moving around downstairs.
"I can't believe she'd do this," Joseph said.
Theo reached over and squeezed the grieving husband's bicep. "I'm really sorry, Joe. She didn't say anything that would indicate she was thinking about doing something like this?"
Joseph shook his head without looking up. "She was getting better. Val had given her some pills and she seemed to be getting better."
"She was seeing Valerie Riordan?" Theo asked. Valerie was Pine Cove's only clinical psychiatrist. "Do you know what kind of pills?"
"Zoloft," Joseph said. "I think it's an antidepressant."
Theo wrote down the name of the drug on his notepad. "Then Bess was depressed?"
"No, she just had this cleaning thing. Everything had to be cleaned every day. She'd clean something, then go back five minutes later and clean it again. She was making life miserable for the girls and me. She'd make us take our shoes and socks off, then wash our feet in a basin before we came into the house. But she wasn't depressed."
Theo wrote down "crazy" on his notepad. "When was the last time Bess went to see Val?"
"Maybe six weeks ago. When she first got the pills. She really seemed to be doing better. She even left the dishes in the sink overnight once. I was proud of her."
"Where are her pills, Joseph?"
"Medicine cabinet." Joseph gestured to the bathroom.
Theo excused himself and went to the bathroom. The brown prescription bottle was the only thing in the medicine cabinet other than disinfectants and some Q-Tips. The bottle was about half-full. "I'm going to take these with me," Theo said, pocketing the pills. "The sheriff's deputies are going to ask you some of these same questions, Joseph. You just tell them what you told me, okay?
Joseph nodded. "I think I should be with the girls."
"Just a bit longer, okay? I'll send up the deputy in charge."
Theo heard a car start outside and went to the window to see an ambulance pulling away, the lights and siren off. Bess Leander's body riding off to the morgue. He turned back to Joseph. "Call me if you need anything. I'm going to go talk to Val Riordan."
Joseph stood up. "Theo, don't tell anyone that Bess was on antidepressants. She didn't want anyone to know. She was ashamed."
"I won't. Call me if you need me." Theo left the room. A sharply dressed plainclothes deputy met him at the bottom of the steps. Theo saw by the badge on his belt that he was a detective sergeant.
"You're Crowe. John Voss." He extended his hand and Theo shook it. "We're supposed to take it from here," Voss said. "What have you got?"
Theo was at once relieved and offended. Sheriff Burton was going to push him off the case without even talking to him. "No note," Theo said. "I called you guys ten minutes after I got the call. Joseph said she wasn't depressed, but she was on medication. He came downstairs to have breakfast and found her."
"Did you look around?" Voss asked. "This place has been scoured. There isn't a smudge or a spot anywhere. It's like someone cleaned up the scene."
"She did that," Theo said. "She was a clean freak."
Voss scoffed. "She cleaned the house, then hung herself? Please."
Theo shrugged. He really didn't like this cop stuff. "I'm going to go talk to her psychiatrist. I'll let you know what she says."
"Don't talk to anybody, Crowe. This is my investigation."
Theo smiled. "Okay. But she hung herself and that's all there is. Don't make it into anything it's not. The family is in pretty bad shape."
"I'm a professional," Voss said, throwing it like an insult, implying that Theo was just dicking around in law enforcement, which, in a way, he was.
"Did you check out the Amish cult angle?" Theo asked, trying to keep a straight face. Maybe he shouldn't have gotten-high today.
"Right, you're the pro," Theo said. "I forgot." And he walked out of the house.
In the Volvo, Theo pulled the thin Pine Cove phone directory out of the glove compartment and was looking up Dr. Valerie Riordan's number when a call came in on the radio. Fight at the Head of the Slug Saloon. It was 8:30 A.M.
It was rumored among the regulars at the Head of the Slug that under Mavis Sand's slack, wrinkled, liver-spotted skin lay the gleaming metal skeleton of a Terminator. Mavis first began augmenting her parts in the fifties, first out of vanity: breasts, eyelashes, hair. Later, as she aged and the concept of maintenance eluded her, she began having parts replaced as they failed, until almost half of her body weight was composed of stainless steel (hips, elbows, shoulders, finger joints, rods fused to vertebrae five through twelve), silicon wafers (hearing aids, pacemaker, insulin pump), advanced polymer resins (cataract replacement lenses, dentures), Kevlar fabric (abdominal wall reinforcement), titanium (knees, ankles), and pork (ventricular heart valve). In fact, if not for the pig valve, Mavis would have jumped classes directly from animal to mineral, without the traditional stop at vegetable taken by most. The more inventive drunks at the Slug (little more than vegetables themselves) swore that sometimes, between songs on the jukebox, one could hear tiny but powerful servomotors whirring Mavis around behind the bar. Mavis was careful never to crush a beer can or move a full keg in plain sight of the customers lest she feed the rumors and ruin her image of girlish vulnerability.
When Theo entered the Head of the Slug, he saw ex-scream-queen Molly Michon on the floor with her teeth locked into the calf of a gray-haired man who was screeching like a mashed cat. Mavis stood over them both, brandishing her Louisville Slugger, ready to belt one of them out of the park.
"Theo," Mavis shrilled, "you got ten seconds to get this wacko out of my bar before I brain her."
"No, Mavis." Theo raced forward and knocked Mavis's bat aside while reaching into his back pocket for his handcuffs. He pried Molly's hands from around the man's ankle and shackled them behind her back. The gray-haired man's screams hit a higher pitch.
Theo got down on the floor and spoke into Molly's ear. "Let go, Molly. You've got to let go of the man's leg."
An animal sound emanated from Molly's throat and bubbled out through blood and saliva.
Theo stroked her hair out of her face. "I can't fix the problem if you don't tell me what it is, Molly. I can't understand you with that guy's leg in your mouth."
"Stand back, Theo," Mavis said. "I'm going to brain her."
Theo waved Mavis away. The gray-haired man screamed even louder.
"Hey!" Theo shouted. "Pipe down. I'm trying to have a conversation here."
The gray-haired man lowered his volume.
"Molly, look at me."
Theo saw a blue eye look away from the leg and the bloodlust faded from it. He had her back. "That's right, Molly. It's me, Theo. Now what's the problem?"
She spit out the man's leg and turned to look at Theo. Mavis helped the man to a bar stool. "Get her out of here," Mavis said. "She's eighty-sixed. This time forever."
Theo kept his eyes locked on Molly's. "Are you okay?"
She nodded. Bloody drool was running down her chin. Theo grabbed a bar napkin and wiped it away, careful to keep his fingers away from her mouth.
"I'm going to help you up now and we're going to go outside and talk about this, okay?"
Molly nodded and Theo picked her up by the shoulders, set her on her feet, and steered her toward the door. He looked over his shoulder at the bitten man. "You okay? You need a doctor?"
"I didn't do anything to her. I've never seen that woman before in my life. I just stopped in for a drink."
Theo looked at Mavis for confirmation. "He hit on her," Mavis said. "But that's no excuse. A girl should appreciate the attention." She turned and batted her spiderlike false eyelashes at the bitten man. "I could show you some appreciation, sweetie."
The bitten man looked around in a panic. "No, I'm fine. No doctor. I'm just fine. My wife's waiting for me."
"As long as you're okay," Theo said. "And you don't want to press charges or anything?"
"No, just a misunderstanding. Soon as you get her out of here, I'll be heading out of town."
There was a collective sigh of disappointment from the regulars who had been placing side bets on who Mavis would hit with her bat.
"Thanks," Theo said. He shot Mavis a surreptitious wink and led Molly out to the street, excusing himself and his prisoner as they passed an old Black man who was coming through the door carrying a guitar case.
"I 'spose a man run outta sweet talk and liquor, he gots to go to mo' di-rect measures," the old Black man said to the bar with a dazzling grin. "Someone here lookin fo' a Bluesman?"
Theo put Molly into the passenger side of the Volvo. She sat with her head down, her great mane of gray-streaked blonde hair hanging in her face. She wore an oversized green sweater, tights, and high-top sneakers, one red, one blue. She could have been thirty or fiftyand she told Theo a different age every time he picked her up.
Theo went around the car and climbed in. He said, "You know, Molly, when you bite a guy on the leg, you're right on the edge of 'a danger to others or yourself,' you know that?"
She nodded and sniffled. A tear dropped out of the mass of hair and spotted her sweater.
"Before I start driving, I need to know that you're calmed down. Do I need to put you in the backseat?"
"It wasn't a fit," Molly said. "I was defending myself. He wanted a piece of me." She lifted her head and turned to Theo, but her hair still covered her face.
"Are you taking your drugs?"
"Meds, they call them meds."
"Sorry," Theo said. "Are you taking your meds?"
"Wipe your hair out of your face, Molly, I can barely understand you."
"Handcuffs, whiz kid."
Theo almost slapped his forehead: idiot! He really needed to stop getting stoned on the job. He reached up and carefully brushed her hair away from her face. The expression he found there was one of bemusement.
"You don't have to be so careful. I don't bite."
Theo smiled. "Well, actually ..."
"Oh fuck you. You going to take me to County?"
"I'll just be back in seventy-two and the milk in my refrigerator will be spoiled."
"Then I'd better take you home."
He started the car and circled the block to head back to the Fly Rod Trailer Court. He would have taken a back way if he could, to save Molly some embarrassment, but the Fly Rod was right off Cypress, Pine Cove's main street. As they passed the bank, people getting out of their cars turned to stare. Molly made faces at them out the window.
"That doesn't help, Molly."
"Fuck 'em. Fans just want a piece of me. I can give 'em that. I've got my soul."
"Mighty generous of you."
"If you weren't a fan, I wouldn't let you do this."
"Well, I am. Huge fan." Actually, he'd never heard of her until the first time he was called to take her away from H.P.'s Cafe, where she had attacked the espresso machine because it wouldn't quit staring at her.
"No one understands. Everyone takes a piece of you, then there's nothing left for you. Even the meds take a piece of you. Do you have any idea what I'm talking about here?"
Theo looked at her. "I have such a mind-numbing fear of the future that the only way I can function at all is with equal amounts of denial and drugs."
"Jeez, Theo, you're really fucked up."
"You can't go around saying crazy shit like that."
"I don't normally. It's been a tough day so far."
He turned into the Fly Rod Trailer Court: twenty run-down trailers perched on the bank of Santa Rosa Creek, which carried only a trickle of water after the long, dry summer. A grove of cypress trees hid the trailer park from the main street and the view of passing tourists. The chamber of commerce had made the owner of the park take down the sign at the entrance. The Fly Rod was a dirty little secret for Pine Cove, and they kept it well.
Theo stopped in front of Molly's trailer, a vintage fifties single-wide with small louvered windows and streaks of rust running from the roof. He got Molly out of the car and took off the handcuffs.
Theo said, "I'm going to see Val Riordan. You want me to have her call something in to the pharmacy for you?"
"No, I've got my meds. I don't like 'em, but I got 'em." She rubbed her wrists. "Why you going to see Val? You going nuts?"
"Probably, but this is business. You going to be okay now?"
"I have to study my lines."
"Right." Theo started to go, then turned. "Molly, what were you doing at the Slug at eight in the morning?"
"How should I know?"
"If the guy at the Slug had been a local, I'd be taking you to County right now, you know that?"
"I wasn't having a fit. He wanted a piece of me."
"Stay out of the Slug for a while. Stay home. Just groceries, okay?"
"You won't talk to the tabloids?"
He handed her a business card. "Next time someone tries to take a piece of you, call me. I always have the cell phone with me."
She pulled up her sweater and tucked the card into the waistband of her tights, then, still holding up her sweater, she turned and walked to her trailer with a slow sway. Thirty or fifty, under the sweater she still had a figure. Theo watched her walk, forgetting for a minute who she was. Without looking back, she said, "What if it's you, Theo? Who do I call then?"
Theo shook his head like a dog trying to clear water from its ears, then crawled into the Volvo and drove away. I've been alone too long, he thought.
Reading Group Guide
The town psychiatrist has decided to switch everybody in Pine Cove, California, from their usual antidepressants to placebos, so naturally -- well, to be accurate, artificially -- business is booming at the local blues bar. Trouble is, those lonely slide-guitar notes have also attracted a colossal sea beast named Steve with a, shall we say, thing for explosive oil tanker trucks.
Suddenly morose Pine Cove turns libidinous, is hit by a mysterious crime wave, and a beleaguered constable has to fight off his own gonzo appetites to find out what's wrong and what, if anything, to do about it.
Topics for Discussion
- In Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, more than a third of the people in town are taking antidepressants, and many of those who aren't have their own medicine for melancholy. Does anything ring true about this? Do you think Dr. Val Riordan's decision to take her patients off of antidepressants was correct? Are we too eager to engineer our moods by the use of drugs?
- Both Mavis Sand, the bartender, and Catfish Jefferson the blues singer, talk about the value of sadness. Is there a real value to sadness in human experience? Are the blues an expression, a celebration, or a cure for sadness?
- Molly Michon is a has-been, Theo Crowe is a never was-which is harder to be? What does the author seem to be saying about expectations by his portrayal of these two characters?
- Steve, the sea monster, seems to appeal to that part of the human mind that is left over from the reptiles. Do you believe that we have evolved past being ruled by our instincts, or is our culture just a means to obtain ourbasic desires? What do you think the religious feelings in Steve's followers in the cave say about our animal nature?
- Estelle has used her art to escape from the sadness of the death of her husband and her frustration as a teacher. What is it about the old blues singer that attracts her? Does romance have an age limit?
About the author
Christopher Moore is the author of Fluke, Lamb, Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you've never read Chris Moore, prepare to get hooked! That is, if you're not easily offended by mockery of the religious right,not put off by psychiatric humor, don't mind sympathizing with aging B-movie actresses, and feel OK reading about sex between the latter and a huge green sea reptile named Steve. A reluctant N. California tourist town goes cold turkey on their antidepressants and is soon after visited by the above mentioned Steve, who's attracted to low seratonin levels and, apparently, gas trucks. I could picture this as a movie-that is if the Coen brothers took acid and decided to redo 50's Japanese horror films, this time in 2000 California. Loved the book! Loved the humor, the details, the characters.
But wonderfully entertaining - great ending!
I don't know if it's because this book was my FIRST Christopher Moore book, but it is definately my FAVORITE Christopher Moore book. Creative, hysterical and touching all at the same time!
In Pine Cove, California, almost everyone celebrates the end of summer as those monsters called tourists finally go home. However, a stunned clinical psychiatrist Dr. Valerie Riordan worries about over-prescribing mind medicine after a patient kills herself especially with statistics claiming suicide for the hard core fifteen percent of depression sufferers. Valerie switches her patients from anti-depressants like Zoloft to placebos. While the townsfolk turn dispirited yet erotic, the Head of the Slug Saloon hires Mississippi Delta blues singer Catfish. His music attracts Steve a sea beast, a long time fan of the blues singer. Steve recently has been bathing in water supplemented by a nuclear leak. As the town turns psychotic, law enforcement officials augment the chaos. THE LUST LIZARD OF MELANCHOLY COVE is a satirical bite at the American way of life. The story line is irreverent nuking everything and everyone involved in the chemical reinventing of Americans quite droll. Surprisingly, Christopher Moore's tale, sea beast and all, feels almost genuine as he avoids his previous tendency of going totally over the line of poor taste and remaining there. Anyone who relishes irony at its most humorous best, needs this novel to wash down 'mother's little helper'. Harriet Klausner
When thinking about this book, the words "wild" and "romp" immediately push themselves to the front of the mind. A mystery disguised in sex-filled gonzo-type hallucinogenic humor, "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" is a quick, easy, and very rewarding read. Moore is a genius in his particular craft, and will happily leave the reader wanting to subject themselves to more of his imagination.
Oh, how does one begin to summarize the plot of a Christopher Moore book. This time let us not even try but instead let's take a glimpse into the characters in this novel. First and foremost, we have Steve, sea monster, who has recently woken from a long sleep and has come ashore in Pine Cove. Steve has an unusual way of catching prey, he sends off pheromones that make any nearby mammals "horny" and they seek him out. This plays particular havoc on Pine Cove's population as the local shrink, Valerie, has just decided to take all her patients off antidepressants (about 1/3 of the population) and try talking to her patients instead of just medicating them. Then there is local constable Theophilus Crowe, a pothead, who had been given the job to keep Pine Cone off the local sherrif's hands, as he is too busy working his meth empire to bother with policing sleepy Pine Cove. By no means the last and certainly not the least, there is Molly Michon, aging warrior actress in Italian movies who dresses daily in her Warrior Queen outfit and works out with her broadsword, but known to the locals as "the crazy lady".A hilarious romp, this somewhat of a sequel to the first Pine Cove book, Practical Demonkeeping, and is by far a better read. Hilarious, far-fetched, un-politically correct and a down right page-turner. I really enjoyed this. Moore is not for everyone but if you like your humour a little over the top and don't mind some well-placed vulgarity you'll enjoy this ride with the citizens of Pine Cove.
i can't explain it. you won't believe me. just read it.
Very funny with an excellent narrator (Audiobook).
I love Christopher Moore, and this is probably my favorite book of his. I love the Pine Cove books. The funny, wacky take on life in a strange little town on the California coast.This book has a recently awakened sea monster, a whole community secretly taken off their meds by the town psychologist, a washed up B movie action star, who has trouble determining if she is the actress, or the actual character much of the time, a drugged out police officer, and a dog who relentlessly pursues his master who he thinks of as 'the food guy'.The setting is good, the characters are interesting and quirky, but still real, and the story is funny as hell.
Those who enjoy Christopher Moore's irreverent take on the world will enjoy this book. It's a solid story about a prehistoric shape shifting lizard who messes with the chemical receptors in animals' brains to draw them to it to feed, and the woman who loved it. Told from the perspective of several characters (including the Lust Lizard itself, or Steve, as he was also known), the story maintained a good momentum from start to finish. An enjoyable, light read.
This was the second Chris Moore book that I read. While truly nothing can come close to Lamb, he certainly did not dissapoint. While the story takes a little bit of time to establish itself, the constant Moore comedy makes the first few chapters entertaining, and leads to wonderful hilarity. I must apologize to the person who sat next to me on the plane, as I am sure my constant laughter kept them awake the whole time. Moore's ability to mix fantasy with reality leaves readers at a comfortable distance from reality while maintaining the possibility that the events "could happen." A great read for anyone who wants to laugh.
Christopher Moore has a funny way about him. He creates some fantastic characters who end up in unworldly situations. I would recommend any Christopher Moore book to anyone willing to listen. If someone enjoys the likes of Tom Holt or Douglas Adams they will love Moore's writing.The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove is not by any means one of Moore's best books, but it is still worth the read. Contained within these pages is a lizard who can take on the form of a mobile home, a bartender who is more like the bionic woman than human, a blues singer who gets the blues knocked off of him and a Stepford wife who kills herself or did she?
Funny, sexy, and extremely odd. Great for readers who are looking for some brain candy and like, Terry Pratchet, Carl Hiasan and Tom Robins
This is the fifth book I have read by Christopher Moore. It was a good choice after reading Blood Meridian, as it cleansed my system of the willies precipitated by the deep philosophical ruminations so often sponge-bathed in the sweat-distilled bloodstains upon the dry desert floor, or on the equally weatherworn dusters of those among us who would kill in the face of opportunity and not think twice.But enough of such prior ill vibrations. This particular book, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, is a typical offering by Christopher Moore, a giant among current pontificators of all things gonzo. Take one part psychiatrist with an overdose in conscience, the town constable whose "Sneaky Pete" and victory garden are his only best friends, another part the local pharmacist with an overly eager taste for the cetacean variety, a mega-mechanized bar owner itching to grease her own wheels (literally speaking), and an aging actress past her prime of defending the Outland for aspiring Warrior Babes the world over. That should be about enough, except for the pinch of a Nat'chal bluesman looking for work, and a dash of gigantic sea beast looking for love being the fuse for havoc erupting in the unsuspecting hamlet of Pine Cove.As one can tell, this is a tale where the sum of its parts is truly greater than the whole, or however the phrase goes. Even Moore describes this in the prologue, whereby Pine Cove serves as the powderkeg ignited by three seemingly separate, mutually exclusive occurrences . Such is the style of Moore, a writer who with a talent for both the whimsical and noir can consistently whip up something so humorous, bizarre and at the same time strangely believable, that a sloth of a reader like myself will finish the novel faster than a shark smelling newly dumped chum in the ocean. I get too caught up in the parts to even hypothesize how the whole will conclude itself; yet it always seems to happen, and it's just a fun time floating throughout the whole experience.There is a bit of cultural commentary treading just below the surface in this story. The plot revolves around drugs, and our decisions and indecisions to take them (or not), whether they be prescribed, OTC, or illegally obtained. It underscores the grandioseness of the sea beast's shenanigans in this nutty town, but Moore does pose the scenario, from multiple points of view.I'm not sure it's my favorite book from Moore, but it's every bit enjoyable as his other books I've read. Quite funny, quite weird, quite entertaining.
This takes place in the same weird little coastal California town as Stupidest Angel but pre-dates it. I feel like taking a shower after using this word, but it really describes Moore's novels: zany. There's a radiation leak, a giant sea-beast, a schizophrenic former action movie babe, and an entire town that's just gone off their meds. Somehow Moore makes it work, and it's delightful. This won't be the last of his novels that I read.
Written in Christopher Moore's signature Pine Cove style, this book is a load of laughs. From beginning to end it's a wonderful novel, and for the moment it'll be the last one I read. I've read everything by Moore to this point, and this is one of my favourites. It's quite an amusing story, and I definitely recommend it to someone looking for a laugh. Well worth the short time it'll take you to read it.
A Sea Monster visits a semi-sleepy California coastal town. Molly, the crazy person, Theo, the kind-of-a-cop and other colorful residents confront the BIG fella while temporarily taken off of anti-depressants by the Val, the psychiatrist.
Not my favorite of his books, but good fun to read.
Christopher Moore is, as always, a genius when it comes to the absurd and warped sense of humor that I enjoy oh-so-much. Who else could give us a plot that includes all of the following: a former B movie starlet who still lives the life of her most famous role as Kendra: Warrior Babe of the Wasteland, a sea beast with a vendetta against a wayward bluesman, a psychologist who decides to put the entire town on placebo anti-depressants instead of the real deal, a pharmacist with a fish fetish (yes, that's right), meth labs and drug dealers, interspecies love, and occasional chapters told from the point of view of a labrador retriever named Skinner? This is not for everyone--serious people need not apply. The plot is wacky and unbelievable; in other words, vintage Moore. While I really enjoyed the book and laughed often, the only reason I gave it 3 stars is that, when compared with his other books, I didn't like it quite as much as Bloodsucking Fiends and Fluke (Or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings). However, the novel is well worth the time of anyone who already enjoys Moore or is discovering him for the first time.
This was my favorite of the three Pine Cove books. Here we get what Moore does best ¿ a colorful cast of characters mired in an extremely unusual situation. In this case, there¿s a mysterious sea beast in town, making the newly un-drugged residents of Pine Cove somewhat¿ amorous. Constable Theo Crowe knows *something* is going on, but he¿s not too sure what. All he knows is that he doesn¿t believe housewife Bess Leander killed herself, and it¿s up to him to find out who really killed her. The only one who really has an idea of what is going on is mostly-out-of-her-mind ex-B-movie-queen Molly Michon, and who¿s going to believe her? This is the Moore I first enjoyed with A Dirty Job.
I totally judged a book by its title with this one when I found it in the clearance pile at my local bookstore years ago. This was my first Christopher Moore book and I was hooked from the beginning; I laughed so hard in so many places and have done so many, many times over the years of reading and re-reading this book!
This wild roller coaster ride of a book is like a spoof of my favorite type of horror story ¿ the kind where the menacing monster comes to terrorize the isolated small town. In this case, the small town is on the California coast, and the monster is a gigantic, prehistoric sea monster/dragon, with a long memory and an unquenchable lust for just about everything, from gasoline trucks to a former B-movie actress.When the ¿lust lizard¿ comes to town, he makes the whole town go horny, bringing together some very unlikely couples. As in all good small-town horror stories, we get to know a variety of kooky characters (and one kooky dog), who all must work together in the end to defeat ¿ or do I mean save? ¿ the monster. Only this time, the horror story isn¿t horrible, but uproariously funny.
OK any book that has a monster names Steve can not be all bad. This auther never gets boring and you can not help but snicker as you read along.
A silly story of a giant sea monster that comes to shore in the sleepy tourist town of Pine Cove, CA. The monster can send brainwaves to those around it, making them give themselves up to be his meal, or making them very horny. At the same time, the town's psychiatrist, feeling guilty that one of her patients has committed suicide, decides she has been over-medicating her patients and puts them all on placebos. Large-scale drug withdrawal + mind-altering sea monster = silly things.I guess I'm just not much of a Christopher Moore fan. Like other books of his that I've read, this one is funny, but not laugh out loud funny. The characters are endearing and likeable. But the book doesn't quite get the absurdism right, somehow. It's too absurd to be realistic, but not absurd enough to be a total fantasy. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was wonderful.
Multiple POVs, each chapter with the name of the POV character as title, although the dog's thoughts also showed up. Pothead constable, sea monsters, aging barbarian film princess, corrupt sheriff, murder, drugs, sex, blues, booze, and explosions in a small California tourist town. Oh, and sex, too. Yes. Yes! Hi-larious. I love this bit of description, particularly the second sentence: ¿Catfish Jefferson put down his National steel guitar and picked up the two-gallon pickle jar that held his tips. Dollar bills spilled over the top, change skated in the bottom, and here and there in the middle fives and tens struggled for air. There was even a twenty down there, and Catfish dug in after it like a kid going for a Cracker Jack prize."