I am a huuuuuge Christopher Moore fan. He won me with Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. And, for that I am indebted to him because listing it as one of my favorite books is what led to my fiance messaging me on OkCupid. So, Moore, high five buddy.
I have read a number of his other works and particularly adore the Pine Cove series and reread “The Stupidest Angel” every year for Christmas for the past 7 years. With all that said, this one did not really flip my skirt up. It has all the elements of an interesting story, but I do not think the whole is greater than the parts. The gist is that Charlie Asher is having a weird time of it because he has found himself tapped to be an agent of death, one who escorts souls from one host to another. But there is a battle brewing between the forces of light and dark and he has to figure out what his role is to play. And, in Moore fashion, there is a host of colorful supporting characters with B, C, and even D plots – he keeps a lot of things in the fire, and pulls it together in the end.
Written in 2006, I don’t think this book ages particularly well. I wasn’t really here for his portrayals of women, to include straight women, female monsters, and a lesbian couple. Moore is a bit hamfisted, and that is typically what is fun about his writing. There is nothing delicate about his characters or about his stories, but through a more progressive feminist lens, his female characters seem to skew from manic pixie perfect woman to harlot, with little variance.
This is also the first time I have done an audiobook for Moore, so this may have colored my experience because I definitely think it made things…awkward. From the beginning of the audiobook I had that “I know who this is” brain tickle and I was right. The book was read by Fisher Stevens, who you may remember from Lost, but I remember from commercials for that Kyle Chandler vehicle, “Early Edition” and most memorably as Phoebe’s jerkwad therapist boyfriend. I’ll put it to you plainly. Fisher Stevens is a white dude. Some of the characters are black dudes. His portrayal of black dudes I found problematic.
This go round I picked up Moore for a book club, so I’ll be interested to see what others think. I’d say this is my least favorite of his books, and not one I would recommend to get people into his works, but, I did chuckle aloud from time to time and I’m not sorry to have read it, though I will skip the sequel.