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Pine Cove #1

Practical Demonkeeping

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In Christopher Moore's ingenious debut novel, we meet one of the most memorably mismatched pairs in the annals of literature. The good-looking one is one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian and "roads" scholar Travis O'Hearn. The green one is Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets. Behind the fake Tudor facade of Pine Cove, California, Catch sees a four-star buffet. Travis, on the other hand, thinks he sees a way of ridding himself of his toothy traveling companion. The winos, neo-pagans, and deadbeat Lotharios of Pine Cove, meanwhile, have other ideas. And none of them is quite prepared when all hell breaks loose.

243 pages, Paperback

First published May 25, 1992

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About the author

Christopher Moore

40 books89.8k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Christopher Moore is an American writer of absurdist fiction. He grew up in Mansfield, OH, and attended Ohio State University and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.

Moore's novels typically involve conflicted everyman characters suddenly struggling through supernatural or extraordinary circumstances. Inheriting a humanism from his love of John Steinbeck and a sense of the absurd from Kurt Vonnegut, Moore is a best-selling author with major cult status.

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5 stars
11,712 (26%)
4 stars
17,363 (38%)
3 stars
12,740 (28%)
2 stars
2,390 (5%)
1 star
625 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,857 reviews
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,688 followers
April 23, 2021
I just love reading Christopher Moore!

It’s silly!

It’s irreverent!

It’s un-put-downable!

Also, every one if Moore’s books are not too long. Not that I mind a long book, it is just nice every once in a while to get in a quick, fun read. And, as Moore usually does not seem to release one-offs, there are more books in the world of Practical Demonkeeping to read.

This book is about as much horror as it is comedy. And, the horror is kind of funny. And the comedy is kind of horrific. A perfect tale for lovers of dark humor.

I am glad that I can confidently pick up a Christopher Moore book and know I am in for a few hours of enjoyment. There are very few authors that I am confident with in that regard. I hope you have the same experience!
Profile Image for Karl.
3,258 reviews256 followers
April 1, 2018
“Practical Demonkeeping: A Comedy of Horrors” by Christopher Moore takes place in Pine Cove, along California’s Big Sur coast. Here we meet Travis, a 100 year old ex-seminarian and scholar, though he appears to be 20 years old, and Catch, his demon companion with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets.

Catch is a demon bound to earth by King Solomon and by invocation to Travis. Catch's nemesis, Gian Hen Gian (freed Head King Djinn), is out to send Catch back to the depths of Hell. Agustus Brine, owner of the local bait-and-tackle shop is the "chosen" one who can destroy Catch.

Catch is eating more and more of the local inhabitants and looking for a new master in the process. Catch soon sets his eyes on Rachel, a witch and member of the Pagan Vegetarians for Peace.

This copy is signed by Christopher Moore.
Profile Image for Erin.
56 reviews181 followers
August 27, 2007
holy crap,
this book. was. bad.

so effing bad there must be a logical explanation for it. the logical explanation is: christopher moore, you used to be a very stinky writer. i'm not sure what happened between "practical demonkeeping" and "a dirty job", but i'm guessing it was nothing short of an earth quaking, baby shaking, holy sweet mother of pearl miracle.

all the raw elements are there. the slightly deranged yet interesting menagerie of characters, the twisting, intercoursed plot lines, a couple of very, very sparse wiz-bang laugh out loud moments. fantastical happenings, interesting details... they're there, if you look hard enough, twitching and screaming under the surface of a couple horribly concoted plot line and a sense of suspense so bad it could be mistaken for the author's contstipation. the build up of this story could be likened to that ring of lime you get around the bathtub... flaky, course, and practically crawling with a thousand miniscule little problems that, once under your skin, are sure to cause itchiness, bloating, and a generally rashlike redness caused by wondering: "why the hell am i still reading this book"? and more importantly "christopher moore, if you can get this published, my journal from 6th grade MUST have a shot...".

I can't fault the guy that much. He was just starting out, and in a way it was really enouraging to read something that lacked the finesse and wit of his later novels. You could actually see the talent there, and it gave one a certain sense of satisfaction knowing that later he got his shit together and ironed out all the problems. and i can never be too mad at him for taking up my time with "practical demonkeeping", because this is the man who later gave me toaster eating demon dogs from hell.

but still. i have to wonder what wonderful things could come from this book if he rewrote it now. specifically, a climax, or perhaps a build up to the climax, or even well developed characters. ok, ok, i'm done.

(you could have just written "and they dreamed it all!" at the end, and it might have gotten about the same level reviews of say, j-lo's gigli movie.)

ok, now i'm done.
Profile Image for Brian.
672 reviews315 followers
May 3, 2020
“They appreciated the simple pleasures that life presented to them and they were happy.”

I have read all of Christopher Moore’s books, to date, and have been quite disappointed in the last few. So I pulled his debut off of my shelf. Although “Practical Demonkeeping” was not my first experience of Moore, when I read it soon after discovering him I remember I liked it.
For what it is, it holds up. It is a pithy, quick romp through a mishmash of various myths, set in a modern fictional California town, with interesting (quirky) locals, a man-eating demon who has a lot of witty banter, and a genie. It’s not “War and Peace” and it does not pretend to be.
“Practical Demonkeeping” is a short diversionary novel with some interesting characters, an unusual and tightly paced plot, and some laugh out loud lines. When Christopher Moore is at his offbeat best, there are few better. This is not his finest, but it is better than his latest.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,266 followers
October 30, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

A 90 year old, a genie and a demon walk into a bar . . . . .

I’ve had a fairly decent string of luck with Christopher Moore’s quirky style. I’ve read a couple of his offerings, own several more and plan on participating in some quality blasphemy this holiday season with Christ’s pal Biff. I really dig his take on Shakespeare. This one, though?

We’ll just go ahead and chalk it up to being his debut and forget it ever happened. I probably should have went with his vampire stuff instead, but this one at least gave me the opportunity to repurpose some of my Funko Pops for a Bookstagram ; )

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,847 reviews16.3k followers
August 13, 2017
Cool, fun book.

Absurd, irreverent, inventive, erudite, and entertaining. Some conveniently wound up loose ends, inconsistent in parts, but a descendant of Vonnegut at his best.

Profile Image for Jim.
Author 6 books2,015 followers
June 13, 2018
As usual, it was a fun romp for all the people being eaten by a demon. Pine Cove is an interesting place with a lot more going on in the small town than would be expected from the surface appearances & that just added to the confusion. The cast of characters were interesting, as always.

After reading this, I found that it is Moore's first book. Like many, the first of his that I read was A Dirty Job & for some reason I thought that was his first. I've read a couple of others & enjoyed them all, so this is well worth your time if you want a laugh.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,695 reviews655 followers
June 3, 2010
I'm rereading this on audio because I desperately needed a laugh but even this book isn't doing it. Might it be because I've already heard all of the punchlines and I need more snark? I don't know. It's mildly entertaining but has some dull moments and too many long moments of explanation and I find myself drifting away all too often.

My impressions when I initially read it:
This is a quirky book about a young priest-in-training who unwittingly commands a demon into existence that gives him immortality but follows him around eating folks for, well, forever unless he can find a way to send the demon back to hell. It is super snarky and I enjoyed every page. Moore has a very twisted sense of humor.
Profile Image for Josh.
163 reviews27 followers
October 25, 2007
This is the first Moore book that I have read, and I have to say, I am a fan. I've read a lot of Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume, Still Life With Woodpecker) and his style is very similar, but more straightforward I think. And just as funny. I haven't laughed so hard at a book in a long time.
The premise is fairly simple... A young man, Travis, conjurs a demon on accident while cleaning the accolyte candles at a Catholic church. He is stuck with the demon, who does not have to tell him how he can be sent back to Hell. He tries various methods of returning his demon friend to the underworld such as reading cantations from spell books and running him over with his car. The young man wanders the United States in search of a way to be rid of his scaled friend, while the demon Catch proceeds to eat various victims in every place they stop. They finally come to the unsuspecting town of Pine Cove California.
The story takes off from there, jumping back and forth from different perspectives as the town tries to deal with this demon menace.
Moore has an easy to read, yet very witty and sarcastic writing style. I would recommend this book and the author to anyone who's looking for a good laugh, and I plan to read more Moore in the future. Heck, I could even see this being made into a movie...
It's a fun, easy read. There's nothing profound about itm but I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a genuine laugh. If you read this, be sure to read Lamb, which is one of the best books I've ever read.
Profile Image for Madeleine.
Author 2 books848 followers
October 20, 2011
If this were written by anyone else, I'd probably give "Practical Demonkeeping" four stars. If this had been the first time I read anything of Moore's, I'd probably give it four stars. But seeing as this is the first novel he's written and the fourth of his I've read, I know how much better he becomes as he gets a few more books under his belt.

All the telltale marks of Moore are fabulously apparent: Well-turned phrases, otherworldly understatement (Moore is one of the few times I appreciate understatement as a humorous device, which probably has a lot to do with his tone), cleverly executed paranormal expeditions and a knack for gleefully approaching what others would consider grand-scale tragedies are all here in their fledgling glory. Cap it all off with an unexpectedly heartwarming ending (how the man can unleash death and demonic forces on an unsuspecting town and then credibly wrap it all up like nothing happened tickles me every time) and it's a quick-reading treat of an introduction to the maniacal weirdness of Christopher Moore.
Profile Image for  Linda (Miss Greedybooks).
348 reviews105 followers
July 5, 2012
My first Moore book, his first also. I loved it! Later, Lamb took over as favorite, but this one is still fondly remembered.

The jacket caught my imagination: "Okay, Stephen King, Douglas Adams, and H.P. Lovecraft go to a Frank Capra movie (It's a wonderful life). Thus inspired they write a book..." Well, I'm in, let's go! And a great trip to Pine Cove it is.

Catch a demon of the 27th order, meaning in the hierarchy of hell he is far below archdemons like the master of avarice, but far above the blue-collar demon who was responsible for leeching the styrofoam taste into take-out coffee. ya, 5 stars still.
Profile Image for Wiebke (1book1review).
860 reviews503 followers
July 11, 2015
This was exactly what I came to expect from a book by Christopher Moore: fun, somewhat strange and mysterious, not too real but realistic.

In typical Moore style this book takes you on a journey that is filled with unbelievable alternative realities and laughs.

I don't really know what else to say, but just give his writing a go if you like funny and magic books. (Mind you magic books, not books about magic!)
Profile Image for Anete.
411 reviews63 followers
December 16, 2021
Laba izklaide, interesanti tēli un daudz asiņaināks saturs, kā liek domāt vāciņš.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews212 followers
August 6, 2016
I should stop paying attention to how a book is labelled on Goodreads or elsewhere.

Is it entertaining? Yes, it is. There are parts that will make you laugh out loud. If you laughed when Monty Python white bunny appeared in Monty Python and the Holy Grail then there is something for you here. Unfortunately, scenes like that are pretty rare. Other things got more attention. It is worth reading the book if only for those moments.

What I didn't like the most is the resolution. Not everyone got what they deserved. If I wrote anything else about that that particular issue, it would be a spoiler. Let's just say that family reunions for some of the characters will be pretty awkward.
It is still a fun story and I am not sorry for reading it.
July 13, 2012
HYSTERICALLY FUNNY!!! I lost count of how many times I had to pause reading because I was laughing so hard! Christopher Moore’s writing reminds me movies like “Blazing Saddles” and “Airplane”…he actually manages to tell a story in between all the insanity! Recommend to anyone looking for a good laugh!

Profile Image for DJ Harris.
114 reviews58 followers
March 27, 2013
Kick back and curl up with this well written and light hearted book that will definitely give your funny bone a work out! This book is a very fast read, Christopher Moore's tale is not only captivating but will leave you laughing! You just have to love Christopher Moore's morbid humor.

Practical Demon Keeping by Christopher Moore

Having read Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore, I figured this book would be just as hilarious, and it is comparable, but not the same. This is a great story, has an interesting plot, and has very memorable characters. Just don't go in thinking it is a Christopher Moore classic!

Practical Demon Keeping by Christopher Moore
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,395 reviews441 followers
January 24, 2014
This was an absolute delight of a fairy tale for adults. Demons, djinns, adventures, magic and moral included. With a side of mayhem and homicide by devouring. I've read Moore before and liked him, it was nice to see that he was this good out of the gate as this debut proves. Maybe not as much laugh out loud funny as Dirty Job or Fool, but just as fun, imaginative, clever, humorous and entertaining as only Christopher Moore can do. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,421 reviews302 followers
June 22, 2021
On hiatus 2/20/21. The first & weakest of the three "Pine Cove" books, set in a thinly-disguised Cambria, Calif, where I live now. It certainly has moments -- but never really grabbed my full attention. Many books on hand, so we'll see. I'll keep it on the active list for now....

Update 6/22/21: No desire to try again on this one, so I've marked it DNF/abandoned. 2+ stars to where I quit when it came overdue. Moore is a hit-or-miss author for me.
Profile Image for Tracy.
732 reviews12 followers
August 9, 2019
Typical outrageously original hysterical satire from the fabulously creative and always enjoyable, Christopher Moore! Them Demons sure needed some keeping!!!
Profile Image for Steve Lowe.
Author 13 books182 followers
June 17, 2010
Well, more like 3.5 stars... a solid read, nothing too exciting or groundbreaking, but considering this was Moore's first novel, not bad. Enjoyable and funny.

Of Moore's work, I read A DIRTY JOB first and really dug it, then subsequently picked up FOOL and LAMB and didn't make past the halfway point with either one. They weren't bad, they just didn't hold my interest, nor have I had a desire to return to them. DEMONKEEPING is closer to DIRTY JOB in terms of style and tone, a similar, lighthearted feel to it, and even a common character in the police detective Rivera.

The problem I had with DEMONKEEPING is the number of characters. For a 240-page book, we've got an awful lot of characters, which we jump back and forth between from chapter to chapter. I liked all of them, but we never really got to know any of them too well, espeicially Travis, the main character. We find out almost nothing about him until near the end, and that comes spilling out in a somewhat tedious confessional (read: info dump). And they all seem to be mixed and matched and introduced simply to give them a role in how the ending will play out.

Finally, I am again amazed at the number of typos in a book from a big publisher. Nothing major, mostly a dropped word here and there, but the hard cover copy of A DIRTY JOB had similar issues as well. This copy of DEMONKEEPING was a paperback reprint by HarperCollins, and it seems they didn't bother to read the copy before shooting it out there under their name.
Profile Image for TC.
129 reviews5 followers
October 10, 2012
Although this is not one of Christopher Moore's funniest books in my opinion, it definitely has its moments. Practical Demonkeeping is another fun and twisted romp with the perverse author of Dirty Job and Fool who crafts great quirky characters to carry his stories. Mavis, the bar owner from Stupidest Angel is here, as is Detective Rivera from Dirty Job and Moore's vampire novels. (I particularly enjoyed the way Mavis answers the phone in the bar: "Garden of Eden, Snake speaking.")
P.D. is one of Moore's earlier novels and doesn't seem to have as much focus as his later books, but it's still decent brain candy when you want a cheap laugh and you don't want something to really have to think about much to enjoy. It would be safe to think of most of Moore's books as R rated cartoons in text form, sometimes slipping into the NC-17 catagory (or higher!)depending on the book, but always with a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek satire and jaded wit to smooth out the edges.

Profile Image for Sara O.
8 reviews3 followers
January 31, 2008
This is the first time that I've actually read a whole book in one day. It was just so flippin' funny I couldn't put it down!
Profile Image for Venkat Satya.
88 reviews48 followers
May 25, 2014
Wickedly funny. That's the term I'm searching for. This book with its winos, pagans, wrinkled-prune Djinn, and hungry demon is wickedly funny.
Profile Image for Chris.
718 reviews90 followers
May 6, 2020
Oh my, this is my first read of Moore's and it was a doozy!! This was Moore's 1992 debut & look into his mind. Irreverent, and crude at times but full of quirky characters & LOL scenes, just what I needed.

70 years ago Travis unwillingly became the master of a people-eating demon, Catch, and he is desperate to be rid of him and send him back to hell. He has been on a search for the invocation that will do the trick and it has brought him to Pine Cove, CA. There is also a King of the Djinn who has recently been freed from his incarceration in a jar for a millennium who is also looking to send Catch back to where he belongs and he has identified an owner of a bait shop as the "chosen" one who will help him do it. OK, so all kinds of myths and biblical references abound in this relatively short read. Craziness already exists in Pine Cove among the residents and it soon going to run amok in this hilarious read!!
Profile Image for Ravenskya .
234 reviews36 followers
April 25, 2008
This novel was a surprisingly quick read, it is short and although not action packed, it manages to keep your attention from beginning to end. The writing style is very casual and humorous, slightly vulgar but not so much as to gain an "R" rating or to turn off the casual reader. There are drugs, but they are not glorified, there is sex, but it is not explicit and there is profanity, but it is not overwhelming.

The story itself is simple enough, one man (Travis) is cursed with being the "Master" of a Demon by the name of Catch, who is not entirely under his control and tends to eat people when he so chooses. Augustus Brine, the small town owner of a bait, tackle, and fine wine shop is suddenly visited by the king of the Djinn who charges him with finding the Demonkeeper and sending Catch back to where ever it is that the Demon naturally inhabits. The story follows not only Travis and Augustus, but also most of the small town of Pine Cove. Although this is a short book, you will find yourself introduced to more characters than seems possible, and wonder how on Earth this litany of characters will intertwine and affect the story by the end of it all. In this Moore does a fantastic job of never spending too much time on the characters that go nowhere, and managing to include everyone in the ending.

As I stated before, this is a quick and easy read, my only complaint is that in order to get to the resolution, Moore does break down into a long and over involved exposition by one of the characters (Travis) that I felt could have been either broken up better through the story, or told a bit more naturally. In the end the resolution makes the story work and certainly doesn't let the reader down. The journey is a fun one and you have the opportunity to meet several very real characters along the way. No one is perfect, and no one is truly evil. In all it is a very human experience told through a very supernatural tale.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,602 reviews415 followers
June 28, 2015
-Una idea sencilla que trata de ser arropada por mil y una ocurrencias.-

Género. Narrativa Fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Al pueblo norteamericano de Pine Cove llega un joven forastero llamado Travis. Pero ni es tan joven como parece ni viene solo en realidad porque le acompaña un demonio de la orden vigesimoséptima, llamado Engañifa, creado para servir y destruir. Además, también llega un anciano de aspecto árabe y que en realidad en un djinn que tiene cuentas pendientes con Engañifa desde hace muchos siglos. Pine Cove y sus habitantes sufrirán los efectos de la visita diabólica.

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Profile Image for Josie.
499 reviews3 followers
April 12, 2019
Awesome. A little long winded at times. Lot's of people get eaten.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,857 reviews

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