Christopher Moore,
Island of the Sequined Love Nun
(Avon, 1997; reprinted 2000)

Circumstances are, to say the least, unusual. Tucker Case is a private pilot with a plum position in the corporate world, even if the jet he flies is painted an embarrassing shade of pink. But an incident involving an off-duty hooker and not enough altitude (to say nothing of a badly placed lever and Tucker's most prized body part) has left him broke, without job or license, and with a reputation that's hard to escape.

That explains the situation that brings Tucker to the Island of the Sequined Love Nun in Christopher Moore's novel of that rather outlandish name. The wee Pacific island is inhabited by the Shark People, a small tribe that worships the memory of a World War II bomber pilot and his garishly decorated plane, which made an unscheduled but fortuitous stop there during the Japanese occupation. The island also is home to a surgeon and his nurse/stripper wife, who take advantage of the islanders' naive cult to harvest organs for an unscrupulous but wealthy organ smuggling ring.

Enter Tucker, who takes the job through ignorance combined with a desperate need to fly again. His adventures getting to the island are a big chunk of the book; his adventures once he arrives and learns the nature of his employers' business is another.

Moore has a fertile imagination, warped no doubt by some childhood trauma or chemically enhanced accident. I'm not sure what else could explain the strange twists and perambulations his stories are known to take. What I do know is, it's impossible to read one of his books without laughing out loud fairly often, and it's quite difficult to put one of his books down until the final page has been turned. Island of the Sequined Love Nun is a wonderful tale that will keep you riveted through every shark attack, cannibal encounter, goddess manifestation, cross-dressing navigator and talking bat that comes your way.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 23 March 2002

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