R&R 082 | The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
First published in: 1999
This edition: Spike books, 1999
Cover: no idea 😛
As with most… no, all of Christopher Moore's books, you know something weird is going to happen. But you never really can predict what; Christopher Moore's books can go anywhere. There's a funny build-up in Lust Lizard; something odd and big comes to Pine Cove, and Moore hints at it brilliantly. (I said "Uh oh" to no one in particular a few times.) So what is it then? (The title contains a subtle hint.)
How about a giant lizard whose first order of business in Pine Cove is humping a giant fuel truck? Because that's it. Really.
When chronically stoned semi-constable Theophilus Crowe is sent to investigate Bess Leander's suicide, he's mistrustful about the situation; something odd is going on… Meanwhile, Bess Leander's suicide forces Pine Cove's very own psychiatrist Val Riordan to question her frequent and fast decision to prescribe anti-depressants to her patients without so much as an actual intake or therapy session.
So when Val drastically decides to take everyone in Pine Cove off their meds, she knows it's unethical, but she also wonders for herself: how is it ethical to just drug everyone without a blink? Val even states that some of her patients "don't even need them [pills]". Placebos it is!
Christopher Moore writes the craziest fiction, but his absurdist escapades usually do get me thinking about the serious things in life. This time, he criticizes excess snap-your-fingers prescriptions of anti-depressants, and how they help keep patients at ease, but do they fix the initial issue underneath?
Now that their 'pills' no longer work, the people of Pine Cove decide en masse to drown their sorrows at the local bar, with a melancholy soundtrack provided for by a blues performer, who's new in town. Pine Cove is
aroused alerted by a sudden explosion, and when Theo is sent there to investigate that, he finds giant footprints near an explosion site… Something's out there. Something big. But when you've always puffed the magic dragon on a regular basis, no one is going to believe you when you insist there's a real dragon loose in town.
Steve, our Lust Lizard, is literally a lust lizard, who has been hidden from the world for a long, long time – until a power plant leak forced Steve out of its hiding place. Where to go? A vendetta against a certain blues performer inspires Steve's decision to head to Pine Cove, where he becomes the new neighbour of crazy former B-movie action actress. Molly Michon may be nuts, but she is one of the few people who sees the new double trailer next to hers for what it really is.
Being (for what he knows) the only one left in his species, attempted multiplyin' with a fuel truck is of course on the top of Steve's list. After that, it's time to spread some lovin' to Pine Cove's multitude of depressed residents. Giving of a lust-inducing pheromone to lure prey, the whole town is suddenly ferociously horny. Steve has a reason for being again: To hump. To multiply. And to chow down. Uh oh.
It's up to Theo, Molly (oh, and Gabe the biologist) to put an end to Christopher Moore's madness.
Completely nuts, but I really enjoyed this one. The book reads with ease, very comfortably – it's like watching a movie. A sick movie, but a movie; the text is comprised of scenes ("meanwhile, in the bar…") which one can visualize easily. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove is funny and well written, with a great setting and colourful characters – of which there are plenty, but they are well developed nonetheless. By reading Christopher Moore's hilarious Christmas book The Stupidest Angel, I had already familiarized myself with the town of Pine Cove and its inhabitants, and I already loved them then1.
Christopher Moore has room for everyone in this book: even a dog's point of view is taken into account. One of the characters in this book a pharmacist who has a fetish for all things fish, dolphins especially. (The gross picture you have in your head? That's pretty much, um, how that is with this guy.) Barmaid slash robot Mavis has had so much work done on herself, she gives Heidi Montag a run for her money. And Molly Michon, former warrior movie babe turned loony has-been, is one of my favourite CM characters; out of everyone she is supposed to be the crazy one, but to me she pretty much seemed like the most sane character in all of Pine Cove.
Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job and Lamb are still at the top of my list, but both of the Pine Cone set novels have been a real pleasure to get through. Insanely zany, I spent a few chilled out afternoons on the sofa thanks to Pine Cove and Steve.
1. Pine Cove was first featured in Practical Demonkeeping (1992), followed by The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (1999) and finally in The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror (2004).
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