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|Written by April Yorke|
|Wednesday, 19 May 2010 00:00|
The City of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Great Bay Area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public. Which isn't, like, as bad as it sounds, because the general public kind of sucks ass.
So begins Christopher Moore's Bite Me: A Love Story. People who read that paragraph fall roughly into two categories: those who thought, "A huge shaved vampyre cat? Sign me up!," and those who had a few objections. Former group, you've got everything you need. Latter group, come with me.
Objection #1: Not another Vampire Thing
I get that people have OD-ed on the sexy vampire thing. But does a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet sound sexy to you? No, it does not. What Moore has created is more assuredly not another vampire thing. Moore's sensitive enough to abide by more traditional vampire rules (definitely no sunlight for these creatures of the night), and it gives him room to invent a few of his own (one word: mist).
Objection #2: Not another Teen Girl in Love with a Vampire Thing
While Abby is indeed a teen girl who sometimes wants to be nosferatu (her word for it), it's not for love, and she's no shrinking violet in the meantime. She runs right into an alley full of vampyre cats with her UV jacket lit up, yelling, "You motherfuckin' kitties better step off!" If this display doesn't charm you, you needn't worry. Moore thought of that, so he balances the Abby sections with portions that focus on her manga-haired love monkey Foo Dog (he also goes by Stephen), Tommy and Jody (the vampyres whom Abby serves as emergency backup mistress), SFPD Detectives Rivera and Cavuto, seven guys who work at the Safeway, the Emperor of San Francisco and his two dogs, and Chet. Moore keeps the intersecting plotlines clear as all want to rid their city of its vampyre cat infestation, and he works in city-specific details like where to find the best taco (Mission district) that keep the story from getting bogged down with all the nosferatu business. Then again, Abby's pretty hilarious: "I'm fucking dying? What the fuck's up with that?"
Objection #3: Not Another Vampyre Cat Thing
Wait, what? Unless there's a rash of supernatural cat books out there that somehow escaped my attention, you are just embarrassed to get caught reading a vampyre book. That's a limiting move. Why would you be embarrassed to get caught reading something this funny, irreverent, and genuinely thrilling? Are you embarrassed by well-written, well-paced stories where everything comes together behind the scenes in a way that feels like everything subtly worked out for the best?
Moore's novel is a welcome diversion in a genre crowded with far too similar plotlines and in need of resuscitation. It might not put the scare back in vampyres, but his variation certainly makes them a lot more fun to be around.