Christopher Moore,
You Suck
(William Morrow, 2007)

I have read and enjoyed all of Christopher Moore's novels. And yet my favorite of them all remains the first one I read, his hysterical vampire love story, Bloodsucking Fiends. So it was a very good choice for a sequel -- even if fans did have to wait a solid dozen years for Moore to get around to it.

Still, it was worth the wait. You Suck has not replaced Fiends as my favorite Moore novel, but it had me laugh-out-loud howling more times than I can count.

Being a love story, it makes sense that the two lovebirds -- the vampire Jody and her love-minion Tommy -- are both back. Of course, Tommy -- who ended the last book by sealing Jody in bronze -- is now a vampire, too, because he didn't think his plan through very well. The book also marks the return of the Animals, Tommy's colorful gang of night-shift grocery workers, now joined by an ambitious blue hooker named Blue. The Emperor is back along with his dogs, as are two homicide detectives who have steeped themselves a little too much in vampire shenanigans. New to the cast is Abby, a perky goth-girl and minion-in-training who narrates portions of the book through a wickedly funny diary, and William, a homeless man with a huge cat that, it must be noted, had hair when the novel began.

Oh, and Elijah, the 800-year-old evil vampire who attacked and turned Jody in the last book, also has an important role to play.

That said, You Suck pales in comparison to Fiends because most of the book lurches along without much in the way of the plot. Sure, Moore's characters say and do funny things, but the story is driven by the vampires' need to find a new apartment, Tommy's reluctance to suck blood and his enthusiasm for wild vampire sex, and Abby's teen-goth musings. Not much happens, really, until the book is nearing its end.

And yet, I laughed and laughed and laughed as I read it, so You Suck serves a purpose. Moore has a wit that's hard to beat, and he squeezes every ounce of humor out of these two young vampire lovers and the people around them. ... Until the very end, that is, which kind of, well, sucks. Sorry, Chris, but we need another sequel out of you. It just can't end like this.

review by
Tom Knapp

22 September 2007

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