Audiobook Review: Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

7 05 2011

Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore (Pine Cove, Book 1)

Read by Oliver Wyman

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Whimsical Horror

Quick Thoughts: Moore’s first novel may not be as polished as his more recent work, but it’s still a humorous mad capped fun novel. with excellent narration by Oliver Wyman.

Grade: B

Christopher Moore will always have a special place in my heart for a few reasons. Firstly, because A Dirty Job was one of the first audiobooks I ever listened to and it really won me over to the format. Yet, mostly because the mere reading of one of his books on a break at work nearly led to a harassment complaint being filed against me by a coworker. It really started out simple, I was reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Friend. It’s a fine book, and personally, as someone who grew up in a conservative church, I found it to be quite an interesting look at Christ. Yet, it seems one of my coworkers wasn’t as amused. In fact, he told me that by reading that book, I proved that I was a bad person, and that by displaying it in public I was creating a hostile work environment for true members of the Christian faith. Well, those weren’t the exact words he used, but that was the implication. So, in order to not offend my coworkers, I decided to make a high school style paper bag cover for the book… then write the full title on it in florescent markers for all to see. Again coworker… not amused. Oh, well. So, since that point, I have always enjoyed displaying my Christopher Moore novels proudly. Of course, it’s tougher to do that in audiobook form… maybe I should buy a T-Shirt.

Practical Demonkeeping is Christopher Moore’s first published novel. It definitely has a rawer, less polished feel to it. In some ways it reminded me of a Tim Dorsey or Carl Hiaasen novel, except with supernatural elements. You have a normal character or two, who are surrounded by a mass of crazy oddball people and bizarre subplots that are eventually all pulled together for a stunning ending. Because of this structure, I had a hard time embracing the novel early on, but once things got moving, the humor began to show through, and the characters became embraced by this reader. Moore creates an interesting mythology with Practical Demonkeeping, and has quite a likeable, yet intriguing character in Travis O’Hearn. I always like the loveable straight guy, who through his naivety and reactions to the ills of others, falls into a situation they would never seek out. Travis epitomizes this type of character, a good guy forced into doing bad things. Practical Demonkeeping is far from the perfect novel, but it is a good indicator of Moore’s realized potential as one of the best satirist writing today.

The audiobook version of this novel was enhanced by the performance of narrator Oliver Wyman. Yeah, I know, I have said that plenty of times before, but there is a reason that Wyman is one of my favorite narrators. Wyman handles the supernatural elements of this novel perfectly. Crash, the demon, is voiced with humor, but never forgetting he is a demon. There were multiple times were some exclamation by Crash had me laughing out loud. Wyman handles the many human character well, giving them the appropriate tones and style of speaking. I think it’s hard for narrators to perform novels that use humor but don’t depend on them, like Moore’s work, without either underplaying the humorous moments, or going over the top. Wyman finds the happy medium here, performing the heck out of the book where needed, but otherwise, allowing the text to speak for it self.




One response

23 05 2011
Practical Demonkeeping – Christopher Moore « Bibliophage's Buffet

[…] ha – it’s been pointed out that this was Moore’s first book.  Thanks, GuildedEarlobe. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)3,557 pages to go … “Practical […]

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