Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bloodsucking Fiends

bloodsuck.jpgA lot of people have read novels by Christopher Moore, mostly chatter about
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal which I
haven’t actually read but intend to. The first book of his I picked up was
Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story about, you guessed it, vampires.

We begin in San Francisco, following the pretty hot redhead lead character Jody around who has a bad history with relationships. She picks the ones who use her and never quite commit.

Walking home from work one night she is mugged in the financial district and awakes under a dumpster, with tears in her skirt and runs in her stockings—and money stuffed down her top. Strange mugging.

Soon she realizes that something very strange has happened. Her hair becomes soft & full, all the fine lines disappear. Even her crooked toe is suddenly straight. She’s perfect. She’s also undead and really hungry.

Trying to recall everything she’s ever seen on TV or in movies, or read in a book about vampires, she puts together that she definitely needs to be out of the sun, and probably needs a little bit of help because as soon as the sun rises she falls into a sleep so deep as to be pretty much dead. Wherever she might be, in the street, in a store, or in bed—she will drop dead at sunrise and not wake again until sunset.

Clearly it’s time to find herself a minion and that she find in one Tommy Flood, aspiring writer from Indiana. He’s 19 and na├»ve and very small town. The two meet, become lovers, and soon move in with each other. Sure it’s fast, but she’s hungry and needs to feed.

Tommy gets himself a job at Safeway on the night shift, where he falls in with the Animals (the other night shift employees) and learns the intricacies of turkey bowling and smoking weed.


The conflict here is that the centuries old vampire that turned Jody, Elijah,
is quite bored and changed Jody so he would have a toy. Jody, however, was not
interested in that in the least. So to amuse himself, Elijah leaves dead
bodies all over San Francisco with broken necks, intentionally leaving a trail
right back to Jody.

Another character in the book, The Emperor of San Francisco (a homeless guy)
and his Men (two dogs) guard the city and protect it and he wanders in and out
of occasional scenes. I guess he fills the eccentricity requirement and while
he does that quite well, I liked his dogs better than I liked him.

In the end, Jody and Tommy team up with the Safeway Animals to do battle with Elijah and free the city from his presence.

I won’t tell you anything further, but the ending does sort of just stop. Thankfully at the time I first read this book I was high on morphine and in the hospital so the most outrage I could muster was “oh, look at that”. Another thing in my favor is that the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck came out not too long after so I was able to pick that up and read what happened after the most unusual bronzed ending of Bloodsucking Fiends.

I enjoyed this book. Enough so that I bought the second. I liked that one as well. This was another case of a writer getting his groove better with a second attempt versus the first. It kept rolling along, right where the first ended, which I prefer in a sequel.

Anyway, Bloodsucking Fiends was humorous and seemingly original. Very quick read on this one I finished it within 3 days while completely high. Don’t expect anything intellectual here, but there are some pop culture references and a bit of snark. Toss in some satire and you have a winner of a book, even if it does lack depth. I thought Christopher Moore could have expanded a bit on Jody’s relationship with her mother for example. I see some comedy gold to be mined there.

This is the sort of book you want to grab yourself a Bloody Mary, sit back and enjoy. Have a few laughs and then maybe go nibble a neck or two.

I recommend both Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck.

Next week, I will try and find another book I thought was pure crap.

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