Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bite Me - Christopher Moore

   2011; 309 pages.  Full Title: Bite Me: A Love Story.  New Author? : Goodness, no.  Genre : Vampire Spoof; Humor.  Overall Rating : 8½*/10.

    Someone – or something – has been cleaning up the nighttime streets of San Francisco lately.  At least in the rougher, shadier parts of the city.  The daytime folks haven’t noticed it because mostly we’re talking about the junkies, hookers, winos, and the homeless; who only emerge after the sun goes down.

    But for the cops who patrol the streets during the dark hours, such as Inspectors Rivera and Cavuto, the absence of the usual denizens of the dark is glaringly obvious.  Even more so when one of their own – a parking-ticket policewoman – disappears while on duty, leaving the Emperor of San Francisco and his two trusty canine minions yabbering about a lethal mist and a badly-dressed miniature ninja.

    Oh yeah, one other thing that’s disappeared: cats.   Of all kinds.  Street cats, stray cats, tomcats, feral cats.  But who would want all these urban felines?  And why?  And how did he catch them?

What’s To Like...
    Bite Me is the third book in Christopher Moore’s Vampire series; the first two being You Suck (reviewed here) and Bloodsucking Fiends (reviewed here).  If you haven’t read those stories, or, if you have but it’s been a while, don’t worry.  There's a sparse-but-adequate backstory over the first 18 pages, culminating with a pop quiz (so take notes), which is way kewl.

    All the old characters are back, along with some new ones.  I find it amazing how Moore sculpts each one – both primary and secondary characters – into discrete and fascinating beings, even down to the dogs and cats.  The sub-chapters are (almost) all given character names, which clues you in as to whose POV will be used.  The book is told mostly in the 3rd person, but there are also some 1st person chapters, thanks to one of the characters keeping a blog.

    As always, Christopher Moore’s wit, humor and zaniness take center stage here.  The writing is simply masterful.  There’s plenty of action, a wee bit of Romance (well, the "full" title should’ve been your clue), and some ancient vampires you really don’t want to mess with.  But Moore also weaves some serious tones into the story.  The character study of Katusumi Okata is really well done.

    You learn some great new acronyms – BMLWA, FOAKES, OMFGZORRO, KTHXBYE, L8Z, etc.  I particularly liked meeting/following the Emperor, Lazarus & Bummer, Kona, Okata, Marvin the Cadaver Dog, and Chet the Shaved Vampyre Cat.  Plus The Animals, who are my kind of freaks.

    This is a standalone book, with all the threads getting tied up neatly.  There are losses suffered by both the baddies and the good guys.  The “big picture” three-book storyline is completed, but some baddies get away, so a Book 4 is not out of the question.

    What bothered Foo was not that Jared had on girl’s boots, but that he had on the boots of a girl with distinctly small feet.
   “Don’t those hurt?”
    Jared tossed his hair out of his eyes.  “Well, it’s like Morrissey said, ‘Life is suffering.’”
    “I think the Buddha said that.”
    “I’m pretty sure Morrissey said it first – like, back in the eighties.”  (pg. 62)

    “I need the words, Jody.  It’s who I am.”
    “I know.”
    “I’m not a vampire.  I’m a writer.  I want to use gelatinous in a sentence.  And not just once, but over and over.  On the roof, under the moon, in an elevator, on a washing machine, and when I’m exhausted, I want to lay in my own gelatinous sweat and use gelatinous in a sentence until I pass out.”
    Jody said, “I don’t think gelatinous means what you think it means.”  (pg. 301)

“Pelekona called Cap’n Kona, pirate of the briny science, lion of Zion, and dreadie to deadies of the first order, don’t you know.”  (pg. 240 )
    My only quibble with Bite Me – and this is minor – is that the book’s storyline is very straightforward.  Vampires get loose; heroes give chase; vampires get their comeuppance; the end.  Of course, it’s an utter delight to read how Moore gets us from A to Z, but still, I don’t recall being surprised by any plot twists along the way.

    But let's be clear: I am a Christopher Moore maniac.  He’s had 15 of his books published, and I’ve read 9 of them.  Two more are on my TBR shelf, and the other four, including his latest, Secondhand Souls, are all carried by my local digital library.  You simply can’t go wrong by reading any of his novels.

    8½ Stars.  Subtract 2 Stars if you thought the Twilight series was just absolutely the best set of vampire stories evah.

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