Practical Demonkeeping
by Christopher Moore
Review by James Walton

Pine Cove is a normal, small California town. It has its rich, its poor, its dope peddlers, its drunks, its transvestites, its witches coven. There is a small Arab who literally curses a blue streak. It also has a demon running around eating people. Travis O'Hearn travels around the country with a demon named Catch. Catch has kept Travis young for 70 years. Travis allows Catch to eat people. Although he likes being young, Travis hates the killing and having a demon around makes extended relationships with other humans impossible. Calling up Catch was an accident. Travis was desperate and if he'd had time to think about it he probably wouldn't have done it. Travis is searching for the incantation which will rid him of Catch forever and he thinks he has found it at last in Pine Cove.

Of course the arrival of the pair does not go unnoticed. Every dog in Pine Cove begins barking its head off as Catch approaches and people start disappearing.

Waiting in Pine Cove is a small Arab who claims to be King of the Djinn and Catch's immortal enemy. The Arab selects August Brine, a local business man, to be a demon hunter and rid the world of Catch. Brine wastes very little time questioning the djinn king or his own sanity. He is sane or he isn't.

Soon several unlikely characters have joined the chase for their own reasons. Jennifer the waitress thinks Travis is the key to getting her life straightened out. Robert the drunk wants his wife, Jennifer, back. Alphonso the policeman wants to enhance his reputation. Mavis the bar owner wants some excitement. Rachel the witch wants power. All find more than they expect, within themselves and in others.

Practical Demonkeeping doesn't make a whole lot of sense (okay, I guess no book about a wisecracking demon could be 100% logical) but it is a fun, quick read.

Maybe it says something about me, but Catch the demon is my favorite character in Practical Demonkeeping, probably because he is totally devoid of human motivations. He is not trying to get even with anyone, gain social status or get sex. He is totally evil because that is his nature. He also has the best lines.

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