Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: The Stupidest Angel

The Stupidest Angel: a heartwarming tale of Christmas terror by Christopher Moore
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: Christmas book for Every Month is a Holiday Challenge; Christopher Moore is hilarious

First line: "Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing: dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe."

Description (from Publishers Weekly): "Sleepy Pine Cove, Calif., is abuzz with Christmas spirit, but Lena Marquez is fed up with her despicable ex-husband, Dale Pearson. On his way home from playing Santa Claus at the local lodge, Dale spies sneaky Lena uprooting his Monterey pines; he pulls a gun on her, she lashes out with a shovel and—oops!—kills him. Seven-year-old Josh Barker, thinking he's just seen the murder of Santa, prays for a miracle to save Christmas. To Lena's rescue comes Tucker Case, a slimy, reformed Casanova and DEA pilot, who gives her an alibi and sweeps her off her feet. The marijuana-cultivating town constable, Theo Crowe, suspects foul play, but Tucker intervenes with a blackmail scheme to keep the crime buried. Meanwhile, there's a new arrival in town: the glowingly blond Archangel Raziel (last seen in Lamb) has come "dirtside" on a "miracle mission" involving Josh's wish and reviving the town's dearly departed. Pine Cove's biggest challenge surfaces as comically reanimated zombies begin to rise and feast on the living, and a huge El NiƱo–induced storm swirls."

My thoughts: Christmas zombies! Need I say more? This was a hoot. I think my favourite character was Theo's Xena-inspired B-list actress wife Molly, who's gone off her anti-psychotics to be able to afford Theo's present and the voice in her head is starting to cause some trouble. And that situation is right out of The Gift of the Magi - Molly gives up her meds to buy Theo a blown-glass bong (even though he's supposedly quit) and Theo starts growing pot to buy his warrior princess a her a samurai sword.

Another amusing bit was the Christmas Amnesty theory - that you can show up at the house of someone you haven't spoken to in ages with a present and they have to overlook the past - was satirical but totally true.

It's just funny. Underneath all the weirdness, zombies, and biting wit, there's a good dose of Christmas love in there. A terrific alternative to sugar-cookie sweet holiday stories.

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