Author: Christopher Moore
Page Count: 300 pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: vampiric comedy
Copy for review compliments of the public library
50 words or less: Jody wants to be special and loved. Tommy wants to be a writer and loved. When Jody becomes a vampire (on accident) and Tommy becomes her minion (on accident,) everyone gets what they want!
Christopher Moore is one of my favorite authors. I love the irreverent humor and wacky story elements in all of his books (Island of the Sequined Love Nun is my favorite so far.) Bloodsucking Fiends is actually a reread for me, as I'd read it a few years ago, but between that reading and this one, I discovered paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
My friends, the results of combining these things is HILARIOUS. One of the best things about reading widely in one specific genre is noticing the common elements, themes, "facts," and other things that run throughout many of the books. Bloodsucking Fiends takes the beloved vampire genre, swirls it around in the blender, and serves it cold with a double shot of tequila.
Jody is probably the most unlikely candidate for being made a vampire on the face of the planet, bar none. She's twenty six, working as an insurance claims representative and hating every minute of it, and trying to convince herself that her loser boyfriend Kurt is something other than a loser. All that changes when she gets konked on the head, bitten, and left in a dumpster. She wakes up extra crispy (having been left out in the sun, natch) and a vampire, with a satchel full of money. Turns out her vampire sire has a bit of a playful streak, if sociopathy happens to be your thing. She immediately sets out trying to start a new life for herself, which, when you can't get around during the day, is more trouble than it seems.
Tommy, or C. Thomas Flood (since that sounds way cooler as a pen name) is fresh off the bus from Indiana and hoping to make it as a writer in San Francisco. When it becomes apparent that that goal is going to take some time to achieve, he takes a job as the night manager at a grocery store, where he meets the night crew, appropriately named the Animals. In an almost accidental meeting, Jody asks him if he'd like to move in with her and do some things for her, which Tommy naturally interprets the way you'd think he would.
Much of the book is spent with Tommy and Jody trying to find out just what Jody can do now that she's a vampire. All manner of titans of vampire literature have cameos here, although as it turns out, most of that stuff is made up! As Tommy and Jody try to figure out their relationship, hid Jody's undead status from Tommy's coworkers, catch the vampire who happens to be running around killing people all over San Francisco, and remaining the store champion at turkey bowling (which is exactly what it sounds like,) these two have their hands full indeed.
What makes the story work, for me, are the linguistic acrobatics and sleights-of-hand that pepper every page. Words that are not funny normally are hilarious when paired together, just so, with other words, and of that Mr. Moore is indeed a master:
"She had a lot of nerve signing her note "Love." [...] But she did sign it that way: "Love." What did that mean? Did she mean it, or was it habit? She probably signed all of her letters with "Love."
We are sorry but your policy will not pay for your barium enema as it was done for recreational purposes.
Love, Jody. Claims Dept...
The entire book is one big quotable quote, and I could literally go on and on from that point. This book is an excellent tonic for an overdose of PNR, or overdramatic horror novels, or just when you need a good laugh.
Overall Grade: A